An Interfering Judge, a Biddable Executive, and an Unbroken Neck
27T08:46:34Z May 2019
Cahir Davitt had an aversion to capital punishment. This first came to light during the civil war when, as Judge-Advocate General of the National Army, he used a variety of stratagems to frustrate the execution of death sentences. He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1945 and presided over five murder trials where a guilty verdict was returned and he was required to impose the mandatory sentence of death by hanging. In one of these cases (and in another where he was not the sentencing judge) he attended a Government meeting and argued, successfully, that the law should be deflected from its course. These interventions were kept secret at the time. They raise questions about the separation of powers in the context of executive clemency.
Type of Material
The Irish Jurist
Status of Item
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