Martin O’Toole, who is one of two individuals charged in connection with an incident at Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon on the morning of December 16th, last year, has taken a High Court action aimed at preventing a local District Court Judge, Judge James Faughnan, from dealing with his case in the future.
Mr O’Toole of Stripe, Irishtown, Claremorris, Co Mayo, has claimed that solicitors, acting for Judge Faughnan, had previously entered into legal correspondence with him and that as a result, Judge Faughnan may be biased.
At a special sitting of Castlerea District Court on January 11th, Mr O’Toole faced charges of trespassing and burglary in relation to the alleged incident at Falsk, Strokestown. Judge James Faughnan refused him bail on that occasion. Following his detention, Mr O’Toole instructed Phelim O’Neill solicitor who made an emergency application under Article 40 of the Constitution which was ultimately converted into a High Court bail application when it came before Ms Justice Murphy in the High Court. Judge Faughnan’s decision was ultimately overturned by the High Court when Mr O’Toole was granted High Court bail on his own bond and released from Castlerea Prison, last week.
On Monday, January 29th, Mr O’Toole, represented by Morgan Shelley BL instructed by solicitor, Phelim O’Neill, took a High Court action seeking leave to bring a judicial review against the Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr O’Toole is seeking to quash the decision of Judge Faughnan to refuse him bail and remand him in custody on January 11th and he is also seeking to prohibit Judge Faughnan from hearing any further proceedings relating to him in the District Court.
Mr O’Toole alleges that on a previous occasion when he was attending a court as a member of the public, Judge Faughnan instructed Gardaí to remove him from the court, allegedly saying ‘remove that man in the moustache – there’s an injunction against him’. Mr O’Toole claims that the Judge was referring to an injunction obtained by him and his wife which restrained certain defendants from picketing, gathering, or attending at their properties. Mr O’Toole claims that he was not a defendant in the relevant proceedings but that solicitors acting for Judge Faughnan and his wife did write to him and serve him with an injunction order.
Mr O’Toole also claims that at the special sitting on January 11th, which Judge Faughnan presided over, as part of his bail application, he informed Judge Faughnan of his concerns for the welfare of his animals if he was to be remanded in custody and he alleges that Judge Faughnan replied: “You should have thought about that before you acted like a thug.”
Mr O’Toole alleges that because of these issues Judge Faughnan may be biased against him. On Monday, Mr O’Toole’s legal team made an ex-parte application before Mr Justice Noonan which resulted in Mr O’Toole being granted leave to apply for a Judicial Review and the numerous reliefs sought, including relief preventing Judge Faughnan from adjudicating over any further cases involving him.
Martin O'Toole is due back in Harristown District Court today, Friday, February 1st, in relation to the Falsk charges.
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