Judge James McNulty received a letter from the boy’s parents asking him to recuse himself from dealing with the teenager’s case, alleging bias. Picture: Eddie O’Hare
A judge has declined a request to recuse himself from dealing with the case of juvenile alleged to have breached his bail conditions including a claim that he told the injured party in the case: “You’ll be followed home tonight, kiddo”.
The teenager, who cannot be named, appeared before Bandon District Court on foot of an arrest warrant that had been executed at his home on Friday morning.
Sgt William O’Sullivan told Judge James McNulty that the warrant was issued on foot of alleged breaches of bail, which had initially been set in the district court in May and then later amended in the High Court.
Those conditions originally prohibited the teenager from being in the town of Clonakilty bar necessary school, medical, or court business, but were later amended in the High Court to allow him to be in the town between certain hours three days a week.
The amended conditions also allowed for a shorter daily curfew, which the teenager was to observe, and also prohibited any contact with the alleged injured party involved in the incident which led to the underlying charge, or with any witnesses. The boy was also to be contactable by phone.
Sgt O’Sullivan alleged there had been four curfew breaches, one of which he said he was personally aware, telling the judge that he had called to the house on August 20 last at 10.50pm, and was told by the boy’s mother to knock on a back window. When gardaí did so nobody came to the window.
The boy’s solicitor, Ray Hennessy, said gardaí on that occasion had been granted permission to come into the house.
Sgt O’Sullivan said he was not in a position at that time to do so. The court also heard efforts to contact the boy’s phone that night were unsuccessful.
Sgt O’Sullivan also said that gardaí had received a complaint from the alleged injured party that at 4.55pm on August 29 last — a day when the boy was permitted to be in Clonakilty — the teenager had said to him: “You’ll be followed home tonight, kiddo.”
Sgt O’Sullivan said this was perceived as a threat and placed the other person in fear. Mr Hennessy said this needed to be tested in evidence and the allegation, in itself, did not constitute a breach of bail.
Sgt O’Sullivan said the injured party had alleged that between May and August he had been intimidated by the teenager.
Judge McNulty said he would not make a decision regarding the status of the juvenile’s bail and would hear more evidence when the matter returns before the court next Friday.
He also referred to a handwritten letter he had received from the boy’s parents asking him to recuse himself from dealing with the teenager’s case, alleging bias.
Judge McNulty said he had read the letter and was going to “politely and respectfully decline their request”.
He said any prior convictions on the part of the teenager’s parents would have no bearing on his case and that the teenager appeared before the court the same as everyone else — “innocent until proven guilty”.
He rejected the claims of bias or prejudice and said previous incidents where the boy’s case was referred to in open court were “an oversight” which had occurred during busy court business and would not happen again.
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