A man caught taking photographs during a court sitting said he was taking a picture of the clock to show his partner he was caught late in court.
Judge Olann Kelleher directed gardaí to confiscate the phone belonging to John Long of 29, Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork, at Courtroom 1 at the courthouse on Anglesea Street.
Long, who is in his mid-30s, was appearing before Cork District Court charged with two counts of shoplifting for which he was to be sentenced.
When the phone was confiscated, Long’s solicitor, Joseph Cuddigan, was not in the room. When he did appear, Judge Kelleher said, “this man’s phone was confiscated earlier for taking photos.”
Mr Cuddigan said on Long’s behalf that he wished to apologise for unlawful use of his phone in the courtroom.
Long then said his partner was at home and he was just going to send her a photo to show he was stuck in court.
“I was taking a photo of the time,” Long said.
Judge Kelleher said he did not know who or what the defendant was photographing but that he should not have been using his phone at all, particularly not to take pictures.
It emerged that Long was pleaded guilty to more than the two shoplifting offences but that the files were not in court for all the cases against him. The judge agreed to put the cases back for a fortnight so that sentencing could be done on all of them together.
Mr Cuddigan asked: “Can the phone be released back to Mr Long.”
Judge Kelleher said, “I don’t know if there are photos of me and other people on it.”
The solicitor said he would undertake to delete whatever pictures were taken in the room.
Regarding this technical undertaking, the judge suggested to Mr Cuddigan, “or get someone younger, if you like”.
The solicitor returned shortly afterwards saying, “it was actually a shot of the time [on a digital display on the court registrar’s desk]. We have it deleted.”