Challenging a Wexford judge to produce his oath … being remanded … and then released

Having challenged a Wexford District Judge to produce his oath and been remanded in custody, Bobby of the family Sludds has walked free following a High Court order.

Last week’s post outlined Oliver Sludds’ unusual court appearance in connection with alleged motoring offences. The Irish Times outlined the conversation between the defendant and the judge.

“The Constitution. It says that a judge must offer up his oath when requested and I am asking you, do you have your oath?” said Mr Sludds, before picking up a copy of the Constitution and quoting from it at length.

“This is not a quiz, I ask the questions. I made my oath in front of the Chief Justice and I have no idea if he kept a record or not,” the judge replied.

Sludds disputed that he was the ‘Bobby Oliver Sludds’ named in the summons.

Having heard repeated denials that he was the man named, the judge said he had no choice but to remand Mr Sludds in custody because there was some confusion about his true identity.

“I can’t accept a bail bond from someone whose signature can’t be verified,” he said, remanding Mr Sludds to Cloverhill prison.

On Friday, the High Court intervened and the dispute was resolved. The New Ross Standard explains:

Last Friday, at the High Court, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy directed Mr Sludds be released after he was informed the State ‘did not intend to seek to justify’ his continued detention. The judge was informed the matter had been settled and costs had been agreed between the parties. After his release, Mr Sludds was greeted and embraced by members of his family.

Mr Sludds’s lawyers sought an inquiry under Article 40 of the Constitution into the legality of his detention on grounds including that Judge Anderson had erred by remanding Mr Sludds in custody when Gardaí, who had no issue in relation to his identity, had not objected to bail being granted.

Senior counsel Colman Fitzgerald, for Mr Sludds, said Gardaí at Wexford District Court had not voiced a concern that Mr Sludds would fail to turn up at a later hearing. Mr Fitzgerald also argued the motoring offences against Mr Sludds would not attract a custodial sentence if he is convicted of them.

However, Mr Fitzgerald said his client accepted his argument to Judge Anderson regarding his oath of office last Wednesday was ‘misconceived’.

No date has been set for Sludd’s next day in court … for “driving without insurance, a licence, no NCT, having no registration plate on the back of the vehicle and failing to stop the vehicle after being asked to do so by gardaí”.