04 Dec 2021

Kildare judge attacks ‘Victorian’ court system

Judge Desmond Zaidan makes comments at Naas District Court

Kildare judge attacks ‘Victorian’ court system

A judge has criticised the outdated structure of parts of the criminal law system, labelling it ‘Victorian’.

Judge Desmond Zaidan says that the gardaí should be given powers to issue a fixed penalty fine for relatively minor issues such a breach of the Public Order Act, and minor road traffic or theft offences.

Instead, many of these cases come before the District Court, adding to the already long list of matters yet to be dealt with.

Some relatively minor matters like petty theft may, if the alleged perpetrator chooses, be heard at the higher Circuit Court after a 12-member jury has been sworn in.

This means additional costs for the taxpayer, he said on June 18.

“In Ireland, we inherited the British judicial system, but even in Britain they have moved away from this,” Judge Zaidan commented.

“Here, you have the option of a jury trial that could cost €30,000 to €50,000 if you steal a sandwich,” he said.

Judge Zaidan added: “I’m stating the obvious, I’m calling a spade a spade.”

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