Judge John Neilan

Judge John Neilan is a judge at a district court in Ireland. That is similar to an Amtsrichter in Germany. There are judges like this in all countries, I should think. I have seen a couple of links recently to his pronouncements. They were found after an incident last week in which a solicitor accidentally hit him with a shotgun pellet when demonstrating an air pistol in court.

Here’s an article about his earlier claims to fame:

His manner of administrating the law is unusual. His role allows him propound at will from the bench, often on matters that are outside the function of his office.

Last Thursday was a typical day. Mid morning, a Latvian man appears on a drink driving charge. An interpreter, a regular presence in district courts these days, steps forward. Earlier this year, the judge opined that eastern Europeans should be charged for the service of interpreters.

The defendant doesn’t have a solicitor and wants to know how much one would cost.

“I’ve no idea, ” Judge Neilan says. “Four or five hundred euro. When I was doing it 35 years ago you had to wait for a fair day to get a few bob.” He then tells the interpreter not to bother translating the last bit.

and later:

A young Estonian man is up on a charge of petty larceny from a shop. Judge Neilan begins another speech. “There was a Latvian gentleman in Longford a few months ago who was destitute and I asked him did he want to go home instead. I contacted the department and they said there were no resources. Nobody would pay. These offences occur because this man has no resources. If he wants to go home I have no difficulty with that. People are coming from these countries and they quickly fall down.”

The judge then enquires if the man wants to go home, and the interpreter replies he doesn’t.

“No harm in trying, ” the judge says.

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