Longford judge asks if replacement had left legal profession 'floating on air'

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Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes was in a jovial mood last week when asking a local solicitor whether his absence from court and female stand-in judge the previous week had left those in the legal profession 'floating on air'.

The question was one which was directed Frank Gearty’s way as he attempted to defend a client charged with no insurance.

Mark King, Knockmartin, Longford was issued with the summons after he was stopped at Clonbalt, Longford on December 21 2018.

Mr King pleaded guilty to the offence and with one previous conviction to his name, was looking at a possible ban from driving.

Mr Gearty said despite accepting the charge, confided he would be making a “very strong reason” as to why Mr King was driving on the day.

That drew a light hearted comment from Judge Hughes, who suggested whether his replacement the previous week Judge Erin McKiernan had left Mr Gearty and others “floating on air”.

Keen to deflect matters back on the case in hand, Mr Gearty said his client was a man who had 20 years of driving experience behind him.

“He’s a man of otherwise impeccable character and was in difficulty and simply took a chance,” he said.

Judge Hughes responded favourably to those remarks and said he, too, was willing to give Mr King the benefit of the doubt by sparing him from a driving disqualification.

“I will give you a chance,” he told him.

“I am quite a patient man, but if you are caught driving with no insurance in the next three years, you will be banned for four years.”

Mr King was fined €250 for having no insurance and a further €250 for having no NCT with Judge Hughes giving him three months to pay.