A young mother who claims a judge repeatedly contacted her in a bid to instigate an "inappropriate romantic relationship" is to sue the State for damages.
The woman alleges the judge, who was hearing her family law case, contacted her on a number of occasions, often making reference to her physical appearance.
She said she "believed his body language clearly indicated that he was pursuing an inappropriate romantic relationship”.
Her solicitor has issued a letter to the State Claims Agency, noting that if engagement isn’t commenced within three weeks, High Court proceedings will issue.
The claim includes detail of how the mother-of-two appeared before the judge seeking a barring order against her husband following an assault.
During the hearing, she said the judge asked for the numbers of both her and her husband. Later that day, she had a missed call and when she rang back the judge identified himself as by his first name and being “from the court”.
She said he told her: “You looked very beautiful today”.
Following that, he texted her a number of times and she agreed to meet him for coffee.
She said he also requested her home address, which, she told him, was on the file in the court. She later appeared before the judge again to extend that barring order, but, according to her claim, “she feared she would receive an unfavourable decision for having refused [judge’s] advances”.
She made a complaint to the gardaí, which, she says, only advanced when some details of her case appeared in a newspaper. In February 2019, she was informed there would be no prosecution.
Later, she complained to GSoc about the handling of the case by the investigating gardaí, one of whom she says told her it was a “boy meets girl” situation.
The investigation by GSoc concluded the gardaí involved did not mishandle the matter.
The woman’s claim against the State includes for injuries suffered as a result of the breach of data protection and privacy laws “the data was obtained in the course of district court proceedings which are subject to privacy and reporting restrictions”.
She also claims her right to a fair trial was breached and that she was further denied rights because “the consistent failure of the State defendants to implement any judicial conduct committee has left the claimant without any other forum for redress in respect of judicial impropriety”.