High Court Judge May Impose Custodial Sentence On Circuit Court Judge.

A former fifty-nine-year-old Circuit Court judge, who was also a former Dublin Secondary School Teacher; a Solicitor and a Thurles Fianna Fáil local District Councillor, is expected to be sentenced on May 29th next, having been found guilty of the sexual abuse/assault of six young men, some 30 years previously.

Mr Gerard O’Brien, a Thurles native, with an address at the Old School House, Slievenamon Road, Thurles, Co Tipperary, was earlier found guilty by a jury, in 2023, of one count of attempted rape and eight counts of sexual assault, in relation to the six unnamed complainants.

These offences are understood to have taken place in Dublin, between March 1991 and November 1997. Mr O’Brien was a secondary school teacher and aged in his late 20s and early 30s at that time, while the unnamed complainants were his students or former students. Latter were aged between 17 and 24 and are now aged in their 40s and early 50s.

Former barrister and now a Judge of the High Court since 2019; Mr Justice Alexander Owens has stated that it was likely he would impose a custodial sentence on Mr O’Brien and has asked for a report from the prison service about how they can meet Mr O’Brien’s needs in prison, in view of his obvious disabilities.

Mr O’Brien was born with the rare congenital condition, known as Phocomelia, which has resulted in him being born with no arms and only one leg; same injuries brought on by the congenital anomaly of the drug Thalidomide, brought into prominence as a characteristic side effect of the use of the drug thalidomide, used during pregnancy.

Mr O’Brien had initially denied all the allegations against him, but following the guilty verdict, he conveyed his resignation to the President in accordance with the requirements of section 6 (2) of the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961, in early January of this year.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens has today questioned if the school could have done more to protect their students.


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