State to fight Activist’s challenge to judge’s appointment

The State is to contest a Supreme Court challenge taken by businessman and anti-eviction activist Jerry Beades to the appointment of Justice Peter Kelly as president of the High Court.

State to fight Activist’s challenge to judge’s appointment

Mr Beades claims Judge Kelly should not have been nominated for appointment by the Government as he was unfit to assume the position.

Mr Beades,of Richmond Avenue, Fairview, Dublin, has claimed in an affidavit that, when adjudicating matters in relation to Mr Beades, Mr Justice Kelly did so in an allegedly biased manner.

In 2012, Mr Justice Kelly granted Bank of Scotland’s application for a €9.6m judgment order against Mr Beades over loans advanced for property purposes.

Mr Beades’ challenge, which began in the High Court before Christmas, saw Judge Kelly’s formal appointment by President Michael D Higgins delayed for over an hour.

He has until Monday to submit a statement of claim, which is expected to set out in detail his central allegations against Judge Kelly’s nomination by the Government.

The Irish Examiner understands that the State is to strongly contest the challenge. Dermot Gleeson, the former attorney general, is one of two senior counsel named on the State’s legal team.

It is understood the State is to say that Mr Beades’ claim that Judge Kelly is unfit to be president of the High Court is merely an attempt to make vague and unsubstantiated allegations which are with without foundation.

It is likely the State will claim Mr Beades’ challenge has been based on factually inaccurate information and is scandalous and designed simply to cause embarrassment to the courts and Judge Kelly.

It is understood the State is to strongly deny that Judge Kelly was let sit on cases where he was conflicted or that he was in breach of his oath as alleged by Mr Beades.

The State is also likely to argue that Mr Beades has forwarded no grounds upon which the courts could interfere with a decision of the Government.

It is believed the State will deny several of Mr Beades’ claims that the handling of his initial appeal to the High Court was also flawed.

It is likely the State will deny that Mr Beades’ rights as a citizen were overrun and will insist Mr Beades was given a full opportunity to make his case in the High Court, where he lost.

The State is to argue that Mr Beades has failed to demonstrate any link between him and the Government’s decision to nominate Judge Kelly for appointment to the post by President Higgins.

It will claim that Mr Beades has, as a result, no sufficient interest or standing to prosecute the proceedings which are under way.

Mr Beades launched the challenge last month.

After hearing the application, Mr Justice Gilligan refused it and refused to grant a stay on Judge Kelly’s appointment pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. The judge also awarded costs against Mr Beades.

Mr Justice Gilligan said there had been a delay in making the application which, he said, was designed to embarrass Judge Kelly.

Judge Kelly received his seal of office from President Higgins in a ceremony that took place just before Christmas but which was delayed for an hour due to Mr Beades’ application.

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