Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Police officer who attempted to arrest senior judge was 'driven by self importance', court heard

By Alan Erwin

Published 19/02/2016

Lord Justice Gillen
Lord Justice Gillen

Thomas Anthony Carlin is appealing a three month sentence for contempt of court after he tried to arrest Judge Gillen (pictured)

A serving policeman's bid to appeal to the Supreme Court over being jailed for trying to arrest one of Northern Ireland's most senior judges has been adjourned.

Thomas Anthony Carlin will remain in custody until at least next week, when his application will resume at the High Court in Belfast.

Following a hearing tonight, lawyers now representing the 43-year-old PSNI officer are to make further arguments on mitigation over his approach to Lord Justice Gillen.

Judges who sentenced him to three months imprisonment for his actions will then decide if it impacts on their view on whether to grant leave to go to the Supreme Court, according to his solicitor.

On Wednesday Mr Carlin was found guilty of contempt of court in proceedings brought against him by the Attorney General.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that he had acted with premeditation and determination.

Sir Declan described him as a man driven by self-importance and attention seeking who "revelled in being the spotlight".

Following the verdict Mr Carlin  was led from the Royal Courts of Justice in handcuffs to begin his jail term.

At that stage he was told that if he seeks to apologise after 28 days the rest of his sentence will be set aside.

But the case took a new twist on Thursday when it emerged that the policeman intended to challenge the conviction.

Belfast-based law firm Madden and Finucane were then instructed to represent his interests.

Sir Declan, sitting with Mr Justice Horner, are expected to decide whether to grant leave to go before the Supreme Court based on the prospects of any appeal succeeding.

If they hold that Mr Carlin has an arguable case with a reasonable chance of ultimately winning, he is almost certain to be granted bail.

Mr Carlin's actions and outburst came at the end of a ruling in an ongoing house repossession case last month.

He had been representing himself in the legal battle with Santander bank over claims that he had failed to make payments on a £192,000 mortage for a property in Co Antrim.

At the end of that High Court hearing he got up and moved towards the bench, holding aloft what appeared to be a PSNI warrant card.

He claimed he was going to arrest Lord Justice Gillen, before security and court staff intervened.

Police detained him on suspicion of two counts of common assault before he was released without charge.

The Police Ombudsman has also launched an investigation into the incident.

He faced allegations of having interrupted proceedings without justification, refused to resume his seat, approached the presiding judge, threatened to arrest him without lawful excuse and physically interfered with a court tipstaff.

Mr Carlin rejected offers of legal representation during the contempt proceedings and declined to apologise for his actions.

The Attorney General argued that he had acted with flagrant illegality by an unreasonable and inexcusable disruption of proceedings.

Finding him guilty of contempt, Sir Declan referred to aspects of his "self-importance and attention seeking", adding that inviting his supporters to stand up in court had been aimed at abusing the proceedings and gaining publicity.

"It is clear that throughout this process he has revelled in being in the spotlight," the Lord Chief Justice added. ends

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph