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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Curtin case will proceed

Chairman 'determined' Curtin case will proceed

Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff 07/11/2006

The chairman of the Oireachtas committee set up to investigate alleged misconduct by Circuit Court Judge Brian Curtin said last night he is "determined" the committee will proceed and complete its work despite a delay in the start of official private hearings yesterday. The hearings were adjourned for a week following a request from Judge Curtin's legal team to the committee last Wednesday to allow them more time to carry out their investigations. It is understood Judge Curtin sought a six-week adjournment but after a five-hour meeting the committee agreed to adjourn for just one week.

The committee chairman, Fianna Fáil TD Denis O'Donovan, said last night "each and every member" of the committee is "resolute" that it will complete its inquiry despite the adjournment. He told The Irish Times: "Unless the courts stop us we are determined we will proceed next Monday." Committee sources said there was anger at the adjournment request as all members had cleared their diaries for the private hearings expected to last two weeks. Eighteen witnesses, including one from the US and several Garda witnesses, were also on standby for the start of the hearings yesterday.

The committee is to report to the Dáil on allegations relating to the discovery of child pornography on Judge Curtin's computer. Judge Curtin was charged with possession of pornography following a Garda search in May 2002. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted on
direction of the court in 2004 as the search warrant in the case was out of date. He brought unsuccessful High Court and Supreme Court challenges to the planned Oireachtas inquiry into whether to impeach him.

A report by independent experts on records held on Judge Curtin's computer was completed in August. The report also examined financial and other personal records to see if they were in any way connected or linked to information and files discovered on his computer. Details of the report will be formally presented to the committee when the hearings get under way next week.


© The Irish Times




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