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Court drama Lawyer previously caught with cocaine involved in blazing courtroom row with top judge

District Court Judge Catherine Staines told solicitor Aonghus McCarthy that she had never experienced behaviour like his during her 11 years as a judge

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Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy. Photo: Collins Courts

Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy. Photo: Collins Courts

Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy. Photo: Collins Courts

A controversial lawyer has had a blazing courtroom row with a top judge – with both of them declaring at each other: “I’m not going to be intimidated or bullied by you”.

District Court Judge Catherine Staines told solicitor Aonghus McCarthy that she had never experienced behaviour like his during her 11 years as a judge.

“I have never experienced behaviour like yours,” she said in Portlaoise court.

She said she would not be “intimidated or bullied”.

As she rose to leave the court McCarthy replied: “I won’t be intimidated or bullied either”.

McCarthy hit the headlines three years ago when he ended up in court after being caught with cocaine while visiting a client in jail.

The 35-year was previously spared a criminal conviction for the cocaine offense in 2017 after his case was struck out when he donated €1,250 to a drug addiction treatment centre.

The Dublin-based solicitor was found with cocaine worth €26 and weighing 0.33 grammes in his wallet while visiting Mountjoy Prison on February 8, 2017.

Cork-born McCarthy maintained someone else put the drugs in his wallet at a party.

Earlier this month he had another court appearance on the wrong side of the dock when he was convicted by Judge Staines in Portlaoise court of speeding offence at the M7 Cappakeel Co Laois on October 15 2020.

She fined him €200. A recognisance of €100 was fixed in the event of an appeal.

This week, The Leinster Express reported on a recent fiery exchange with Judge Staines which arose during a bail hearing of a client of Mr McCarthy's who was before the court charged with possession of cocaine and possession for sale or supply in Co Laois on May 14 this year.

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Gardaí objected to bail and the judge refused bail saying she accepted the Garda concerns that had been outlined.

Mr McCarthy protested and continued advancing his case after the judge’s decision, saying she was not giving him a chance to hear him out.

The judge initially relented but then told McCarthy that was her decision. McCarthy continued to protest.

Upon returning from lunch Judge Staines said she had given the matter some thought.

“I don’t believe I was biased in any way,” she stated.

But she said she vacating her order refusing bail and that the defendant should appear before the next available judge, possibly at Clover hill that afternoon.

McCarthy told her that he was seeking the Digital Audio Recording (DAR) from the court for Thursday May 20 and for December 22.

She told him she had no problem making them available to him.

The judge then laid into McCarthy, noting his “aggressive behaviour”.

“In my 11 years I have never experienced behaviour likes yours,” she told him.

She also told him that she was not going to be “bullied or intimidated”.

McCarthy replied that he thought he was being unfairly treated and he had a duty to represent his clients.

As the judge rose, McCarthy declared: “I won’t be bullied or intimidated either.”

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