Belfast Telegraph

Defendant asks judge to show his oath of office in court stand-off

By Edel O'Connell

A man facing a series of motoring offences demanded that a judge produce his oath of office yesterday during a dramatic stand-off.

The hearing at Wexford District Court was brought to a standstill when a 29-year-old man demanded that the judge produce his oath before he proceeded with the case.

Declaring he had been brought to the court against his will, and was "under duress", Bobby Oliver Sludds, of Ballagh Cove, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, said Judge David Anderson had no jurisdiction to deal with the case unless he first produced his oath. "Do you have your oath here? Because if you don't, you're not operating a lawful court," he said.

"Where did you read that?" asked 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 beginning to quote at length from Article 34, which deals with the appointment of judges.

"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," replied Judge Anderson.

"Do you speak English or legalese?" replied Mr Sludds, before discarding the Constitution and picking up a copy of 'Black's Law Dictionary'.

Quoting the definition of "summons", Mr Sludds proceeded to dispute the validity of the summons issued by the court, in which he was charged with a number of motoring offences in Enniscorthy in April 2010.

"These offences are fraudulent and I'm not this Bobby Oliver Sludds you speak of. That's not me and this fictitious claim is a fraud on this court. This is not my name. I've been taken here against my will," he repeated.

Asked to clarify the matter, prosecuting Garda Michael O'Grady said that when he had stopped Mr Sludds and asked him his name, he had replied: "Bobby of the family Sludds."

"But who is this Oliver you're talking about?" asked the defendant, who said he was "a peaceful and honourable man" and the charges were spurious.

Sludds then handed up a copy of his birth cert to the court and again repeated that he was not the man named in the summons.

Having heard repeated denials that he was the man named in the summons, Judge Anderson said he had no other choice but to remand Sludds in custody due to the confusion.

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

"You can't do this. This isn't over -- you can expect a bill," shouted Mr Sludds, as he was led away by a number of gardai. He was remanded to Cloverhill Prison until September 17.

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