30/06/2011

Donaldson Slams Clarke's Veto Of Judge Appointment

The DUP's Jeffery Donaldson has slammed a veto taken by the Lord Chancellor, halting the appointment of an NI barrister involved with a Presbyterian society to the position of High Court Judge.

Lagan Valley MP criticised interference by Ken Clarke in the appointment of the High Court judge in Northern Ireland saying that the Lord Chancellor's actions breached the "spirit of arrangements which underpinned the devolution of policing & justice"

The Judicial Appointments Panel in Belfast recommended Mark Orr, who has been a QC for 15 years, for the appointment, but Ken Clarke stepped in to halt the move.
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Mr Orr had failed to reveal on his application form that he had held the position of director of the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

"At a single stroke Ken Clarke has breached the spirit of the arrangements which underpinned the devolution of policing and justice last year and has impliedly called into question the adequacy of the new arrangements.

"He may have been legally entitled to take the steps that he has but in doing so he has damaged the independence of the judicial process from political interference."

Mr Robinson said that the notion there would be no political involvement in the appointment of High Court judges was a critical tenant of the agreement that justice powers would be devolved to Northern Ireland.

(DW/GK)

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