Judge Gerard O Brien From Thurles Resigns Following Conviction

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Judge Gerard O’Brien, from Thurles has resigned from his positon following a conviction at the Central Criminal Court for multiple cases of sexual assault on December 22nd last year.

It is understood that the Judge has not been assigned any cases since 2021. Justice Minister Helen McEntee had been under pressure to remove the judge from his post following the conclusion of the jury deliberations.

The Circuit Court judge was found guilty of sexually assaulting six young men while he was a teacher in the 1990s.

An Oireachtas vote is the only mechanism to remove a sitting judge.

The Constitution of Ireland states that a judge “shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity and then only upon resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann calling for their removal”.

To date, no judge has ever been removed and the phrase referring to “stated misbehaviour or incapacity” has never been judicially interpreted.

The only other sitting Judge convicted of offences was Judge Heather Perrin who also resigned her position before sentencing in 2012.

Minister McEntee says that “Circuit Court Judge Gerard O’Brien submitted his resignation, effective from 5 January.

The Minister says she will make no further comment on the matter until the case was finalised and sentencing had been completed.

The court case is adjourned until 4 March for victim impact statements and sentencing.

Mr O’Brien, aged 59, suffers from the condition known as Phocomelia and has no arms and only one leg which may be a factor in his sentencing.

Mr O’Brien overcame his disabilities to secure a law degree and with the aid of an artificial leg drove a specially modified car.