What about SeÃƒ¡nie O Leary reaching out from beyond the grave to attack the Supreme Court? Wasn’t he right? In case you missed this, it concerns one of the more colourful of our Irish judiciary, SeÃƒ¡n O Leary, an exceptionally bright fellow who suffered all his life from being the smartest boy in the class.
SeÃƒ¡n, on his deathbed, wrote an article to be published after his passing. A critique of life, the Universe and the Law Library. Inter alia, he criticised the decision of the Supreme Court in the Mr A case. Do you remember the Mr A case? This was back in July or thereabouts. I think I have a few Bocks on it and I’ll dig them up later if I get a chance. It was about a guy who had sex with a young teenaged girl.
He put forward the defence that he didn’t know the girl was under age, and furthermore that he didn’t get the opportunity to say so at his trial. The thing went to the Supreme Court who decided that he was right, and that his constitutional rights had been violated. In fact, they went further and judged that there was no crime in Irish law corresponding to what this man had been charged with, and therefore he couldn’t lawfully be kept in jail, no matter what he had done. He wasn’t convicted of anything. The country duly went into a collective spasm of rage. There was an unprecedented outpouring of venom, spleen and bile towards the Supreme Court who, in fairness to them, were only interpreting the law.
The guy was duly released and a whole crowd of other perverts were lining up to offer the same defence. The country was going fucking mad. So the Supreme Court went into a huddle again and came up with a judgment worthy of Denning at his most senile.
There was no crime but the fucker was a bollix anyway and everybody thinks he’s a shit so he should go back to jail cos it should have been a fuckin crime even if it wasn’t.
And he was duly rearrested and re-jailed. Now. This was an interesting precedent. No matter how horrible you think the miscreant was, the fact remains that he did not commit a crime under Irish law. So we now have the situation where we jail people in this country for being horrible and especially where everybody thinks they should be in jail. How far removed is that from hanging Saddam for being a bastard?
SeÃƒ¡nie was right. The Supreme Court gave in to public opinion and in so doing, advanced the culture of denunciation one step more.