Rights group slams judge's 'knackers' comment
on 25/01/2013 17:20:05
Tuam District Court Judge Geoffrey Browne made his comments during the case of a publican who was robbed three times in five months.
Sixty-nine-year-old Michael Masterson suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised after raiders repeatedly targeted his Derreen Inn in Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway.
Sentencing two burglars to jail, Judge Browne said: "It's time for more force to be used on these fellows...Maximum force should be used."
He said those who carried out such attacks were "knackers".
Martin Collins of Pavee Point said "the use of the term 'knacker' is extremely insulting to Travellers and there is no place for racist language in our courtrooms."
"These comments are dangerous and irresponsible. The use of racist language by a judge is completely unacceptable and does not instil faith in the judicial system."
"We are calling for Judge Brown to make a public apology."
Judge Browne's comments follow recent comments by Judge Seamus Hughes at a sitting of Athlone District Court, where he described Traveller men as "Neanderthal men".
"It is clear that an accountability mechanism for judges is needed," said Mr Collins, who also called for a judicial council to be established on a statutory basis.