Oireachtas to consider ban on lobbying judges

A BAN on elected officials lobbying judges on behalf of criminals is to be debated in the Oireachtas in the autumn.

Independent Senator John Crown is to push the legislation in the upper house after the recent furore which forced David Norris out of the presidential race.

Norris quit the contest after it emerged he wrote to Israeli judges asking for clemency for a former partner convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old.

Fine Gael presidential candidate Gay Mitchell also raised eyebrows after it emerged he pleaded for clemency to be shown to anti-abortion activist on Florida’s death row who had committed a double murder.

Mr Mitchell says he intervened in the case in 2003 because he was opposed to the death penalty and did not want killer Paul Hill to be given a lethal injection.

The then Fine Gael foreign affairs spokesman’s pleas were ignored and Hill was executed.

Labour presidential candidate Michael D Higgins said he has never written to a judge in relation to any criminal matter.

And the two independent candidates for the presidency, Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher, insist they have never sought clemency for anyone convicted of criminal charges.

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