Court sits in judge’s private residence

A court sitting in Kerry took place in the private residence of the district court judge yesterday, where several cases involving special sittings have been heard over the Christmas period.

Yesterday’s special sitting was to deal with a custody case after some 60 matters before Killarney District Court were adjourned in the morning when the scheduled sitting of the Killarney court was cancelled as people assembled and waited for Judge James O’Connor, who presides over the Kerry district courts.

District court clerk Jane Harrison told the court in Killarney shortly before 11am of the need to adjourn because the judge was ill. Up to 50 people were in the court in Killarney, including solicitors and gardaí. The next sitting is January 16. People summoned or otherwise obliged to attend yesterday will have to appear then.

Three people were in court in custody, two of them having been incarcerated over the Christmas period — they were returned to Cork Prison and will appear before Tralee District Court today.

The third man, arrested on New Year’s Day, first returned to the Garda station in Killarney. However, a sitting of the court was then scheduled for 1.30pm, at Judge O’Connor’s direction, at his private residence near Glenbeigh, on the Ring of Kerry.

The prosecuting sergeant and court clerk, along with three gardaí and defence solicitor Padraig O’Connell, appeared in the booklined box room where special sittings of the district court in Kerry are regularly held.

There was a brief adjournment while Mr O’Connell conferred with his client in the rain in the open space.

At least four special sittings have been held there over the Christmas/New Year period, including on New Year’s Day.

According to the Courts Service, it is “not uncommon” for special sittings of the court to be held in judges’ homes.

Under the rules of adjournments of district court sittings, all persons whose attendance shall have been required by any summons, order, civil summons, recognizance, or notice at the court shall be obliged to attend on the adjourned date without the issue or service of any further summons or order, civil summons, recognizance or notice.

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