Northern Ireland news

About the rugby rape trial judge Patricia Smyth

Marie Louise McConville

JUDGE Patricia Smyth was appointed to the bench in 2010. The rape case was one of her most high-profile to date.

A sister of prominent Belfast solicitor, Peter Madden, Judge Smyth previously headed up industrial tribunals in Northern Ireland before being appointed a County Court judge.

Judge Smyth was sworn into office during a ceremony in Belfast in February 2010 before Sir Declan Morgan, the lord chief justice.

Having studied at studied at Queen’s University Belfast, she was called to the bar in 1986, before going on to practise in areas of criminal, civil and employment law.

Her legal career led to roles as chairwoman and later vice-president of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal.

Making the appointment at the Royal Courts of Justice, Sir Declan said: “Judges have enormous public responsibilities and the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is vital if there is to be public confidence in the operation of our system of justice.”

He added that Judge Smyth came to the task with the benefit of a successful career. “I have no doubt that she will perform her duties with distinction and I wish her every success in her new role,” he said. 

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