DoJ official climbs down over burglary remarks

A senior Department of Justice official has offered an apology after making widely-reported remarks suggesting that judges do not treat the offence of burglary seriously enough.

Jimmy Martin, a member of the department’s management board, has written to President of the District Court, Judge Rosemary Horgan, to apologise for his comments, which were made during an appearance before the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The letter has since been circulated to District Court judges.

Mr Martin said last week: “Our perception is that the judiciary didn’t view burglary as a serious offence.”

However, he wrote in his letter that he was merely attempting to offer “an explanation” as to why a court might take the view that a burglary case did not meet the criteria of Section 2 of the Bail Act, under which bail can be denied.

He also said it was “a matter of professional and personal concern that I would be perceived” as having criticised the judiciary and he thought it “best to write” to clarify the remarks.

Noel Waters, acting secretary general at the Department of Justice, had earlier distanced the department from Mr Martin’s comments.

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