Judge opts out of Limerick case after anonymous letter

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Judge Marian O'Leary imposed sentences totalling fourteen months

A JUDGE has recused herself from a court case in Limerick after reading an anonymous letter.

Denyse O’Brien, aged 30, was due in court in Kilmallock this week for the finalisation of her prosecution. In April, she pleaded guilty of running up €3,000 of fraudulent transactions on a debit card belonging to a friend’s mother.

On that date, O’Brien’s solicitor, Sharon Davern, said her client had saved €2,250 and that once that reached €3,000, it would be handed over.

On Tuesday, Ms Davern applied for a short adjournment due to “certain circumstances that have arisen”.

“I have shown certain documentation to Inspector Conlon,” said Ms Davern.

Judge Marian O’Leary was also given a copy.

“The third document goes to the nub of the matter,” said Ms Davern. It was not read out in court.

Insp Luke Conlon applied for Ms O’Brien’s address on the charge sheet to be varied as he has been told she is not resident at that address in Rhebogue.

Ms Davern said the new address was on the documentation.

Judge O’Leary then informed the court that she was recusing herself from the case.

“A private and confidential letter arrived from an anonymous writer to Limerick District Court office. I read this letter,” said Judge O’Leary.

To prevent any prejudice to the case the judge said she was recusing herself. The new date for the finalisation of the case is in September.

Ms Davern asked for a date at the end of July.

“There are reasons at the end of the letter [from the doctor],” said Ms Davern.

Judge O’Leary said it should go back to September for a judge “who doesn’t know anything about it”.

The judge said she wouldn’t be reading any other letters of this type that come to the court office.

Ms Davern sought a copy. “It is anonymous,” replied Judge O’Leary.