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Curtin up Child porn accused ex-judge appeared in RTE sketch show and several plays

Curtin hit the headlines in his native Co Kerry this week after it emerged the former judge, who was not convicted of any criminal offence, had appeared on the RTÉ sketch show Big Night In, which aired on Tuesday evening.

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Brian Curtin pictured on his way into Tralee Court house in Tralee

Brian Curtin pictured on his way into Tralee Court house in Tralee

Brian Curtin pictured on his way into Tralee Court house in Tralee

A FORMER judge who ­resigned on health grounds after being accused of ­accessing child abuse ­imagery donned the black robes again to play Judge Danford in The Crucible play for a local playgroup.

Former Circuit Court judge Brian Curtin, who was charged with possession of child pornography before the case collapsed over an invalid warrant, has also appeared in plays as a juror, a TD, a bishop and a school principal.

Curtin hit the headlines in his native Co Kerry this week after it emerged the former judge, who was not convicted of any criminal offence, had appeared on the RTÉ sketch show Big Night In, which aired on Tuesday evening.

He played 'Brian the porter' who, with other actors, is involved in a set-up against a hotel receptionist that sees a couple's wedding plans turn to disaster.

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Brian Curtin on the Big Night In

Brian Curtin on the Big Night In

Brian Curtin on the Big Night In

After the show - described by RTÉ as "family entertainment" - The Kerryman newspaper said it received messages from members of the public who did not agree with Curtin's appearance on it.

But, according to an acting CV for Curtin, it was his third appearance on the national broadcaster.

On a section titled 'Film and TV credits' he lists an appearance as a debate participant on Seven Days TV on RTÉ and as 'himself' on a programme entitled Kennedy Remembered.

According to the CV, Curtin is signed to the Tralee based actors' agency Act Up.

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Judge Brian Curtin's acting CV

Judge Brian Curtin's acting CV

Judge Brian Curtin's acting CV

A spokesperson for Act Up said "No comment", in response to a query this week relating to Curtin's role in the family entertainment show.

Curtin's CV also outlines a number of other roles he has played.

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They include: a juror in the play 12 Angry Men, which was staged in the Salesian College; the Bull McCabe in a production of The Field; a bishop in a production of Moll, staged in the Siamsa Tire Theatre in Tralee; a school principal in Two Wasters, and a TD in a production of Pilot.

Curtin was charged with possession of child pornography in 2003 arising from Operation Amethyst.

Amethyst was a major investigation launched by gardaí in May 2002 based on details received from Interpol of Irish credit card transactions made in 1999 to a child pornography website in Texas.

Curtin was then charged in January 2003.

Following delays due to the judge's ill-health, the trial took place in April 2004.

At the trial, Curtin claimed that the search was illegal because it had taken place outside the limit of the seven-day warrant.

Gardaí claimed that the delay was due to Curtin's extended absence from his home and that when it took place at 2:20pm on 27 May 2002, it was still within the seven-day limit.

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Former judge Brian Curtin walks free from Tralee Court House in 2004

Former judge Brian Curtin walks free from Tralee Court House in 2004

Former judge Brian Curtin walks free from Tralee Court House in 2004

However, the trial judge, Carroll Moran, ruled that the search of Curtin's Ard Na Lí home in Tralee was invalid, as the ­warrant for it had expired at midnight the night before.

It emerged at court that the DPP had become aware that the search warrant was invalid when executed, but still proceeded with the case.

In a seven-page scathing judgment, Judge Moran said the State had been aware that the warrant had expired. He described submissions that the prosecution made on the validity of the search warrant as "untenable and nonsensical". He said the issue was "crystal clear" and the law on the matter could not be more simple.

Curtin's acquittal was met with considerable public disquiet, but he refused a Government request to step down, claiming that, under the Constitution, he could only be removed for "stated ­misbehaviour".

In June 2004, Justice Minister Michael McDowell moved an impeachment motion in the Dáil, saying Curtin was "unsuitable to exercise the office of a judge of the Circuit Court". This was only the second judicial "impeachment" motion under the 1937 Constitution - the first, in 1941, had been withdrawn.

The Dáil suspended McDowell's motion and established a joint Oireachtas select committee to examine the evidence.

This inquiry was challenged by Curtin in the courts.

However, the challenges were unsuccessful and following a Supreme Court ruling in March 2006 upholding the process, the select committee took custody of a computer owned by Curtin from the gardaí and hired experts to examine it.

Curtin suggested that malware could have downloaded ­pornographic images to his ­computer without his knowledge. The process took longer than expected but the committee planned to issue a report to the Oireachtas in late 2006 to facilitate a debate and vote.

However, in November 2006, Curtin resigned from the judiciary on health grounds, ending the investigation.

When contacted, RTÉ said it commissioned Adare Productions to produce Big Night In as part of its Christmas schedule.

The programme included a sketch called Kathleen's Country House.

It said Adare Productions used a local professional agency to hire all the actors involved in this sketch.

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