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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Motion to impeach judge begins
Judge Curtin
Judge Curtin was acquitted of child pornography possession
Steps towards removing a judge, acquitted of possessing child pornography, from office have been taken by the Irish Government.

Charges against Circuit Court judge Brian Curtin were dropped in April after it was discovered that a search warrant used to raid his home had been out of date.

On Tuesday, the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell put a motion before the Irish Parliament, the Dail.

It calls for Judge Curtin's removal for subscribing to, accessing and using websites containing child pornographic images.

It says that renders him unsuitable to exercise the office of a judge of the Circuit Court.

Unprecedented

The Dail has also voted to change its standing orders to allow for hearings into the possible removal of a judge.

Lawyers acting for Judge Curtin are trying to challenge the process against their client.

They have lodged a plenary summons against the government and the attorney general in the High Court.

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has insisted that this will not alter or delay his government's plans to remove Judge Curtin.

Judge Curtin believes he is an innocent man and told the Irish Government that it was inappropriate, given the independence of the judiciary, for him to give explanations for the use of his credit card and the alleged discovery of child pornography on his computer.

The impeachment of a judge would be unprecedented in the Irish Republic.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Colman O'Sullivan reports:
"Lawyers acting for Judge Curtin are trying to challenge the process against their client"



SEE ALSO:
Judge faces impeachment bid
18 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Judge replies after porn acquittal
15 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Child porn case collapses
24 Apr 04  |  Northern Ireland



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