THERE was a kerfuffle in Carrickmacross District Court this week when a Louth solicitor was ordered to be arrested by Judge Sean MacBride for contempt of court.
Catherine Taaffe, who is based out of Louth Village and regularly attends Carrickmacross District Court, got up to speak to her client while Superintendent Gerard Russell was reading out her client’s previous convictions.
Judge Sean MacBride said that in all his years working as at the bar he had never seen such behaviour and that Ms Taaffe was “totally out of order”.
Judge MacBride ordered her to retake her seat, but Ms Taaffe said that she was completely within her rights to consult with her client, and refused to take her seat.
“You have absolutely not respect for this court and have no respect for me,” shouted Judge MacBride.
Judge MacBride said he would hold her in contempt of court and would be arrested if she did not retake her seat, which she didn’t.
Judge MacBride then told Gardaí “to arrest” Ms Taaffe and stormed out of the court.
Court was adjourned, while Gardaí were clearly unsure as what to do in the situation. Ms Taaffe was not arrested.
Head of Monaghan Bar Gerry Jones went into the Judge’s Chamber and after a few minutes Judge Sean MacBride returned to the court.
Upon Judge MacBride’s return to court, Ms Taaffe addressed the court and told the judge: “I merelty wished to consult with my client regarding his bail had been breached on a previous occasion, as outlined in by Superintendent Gerard Russell.”
Ms Taaffe also said that she did not mean to disrespect the court or indeed Judge MacBride who she had the greatest of respect for.
“What you did was very “manly” to use a sexist expression,” said Judge MacBride. “It took courage”. He also said that she had purged her contempt of court.
The case continued following the incident.