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Paul Carney is the senior ordinary judge of the Irish High Court and the presiding judge of its criminal division, the Central Criminal Court.
He is regarded as a leading expert on Irish criminal law and has presided over murder and rape trials since his appointment to the High Court in 1991.
Mr Justice Carney is a former student of Gonzaga College, and a graduate of University College Dublin and King's Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1966 and was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1991. Both his parents were academics and founded a Department of Celtic Studies at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.
In May, 2006 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Law in University College, Cork.
In September, 2008 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor of the Department of Law & Business at NUI Maynooth, Kildare.
Prior to being appointed a judge, Paul Carney was a member of the Progressive Democrats.
Judge Carney, as the "listing judge" of the criminal division of the High Court and the only judge permanently assigned to the Central Criminal Court, hears seven out of every 10 rape cases and over half of all murder trials in the State.
His views on many issues have been controversial, and his insistence upon wigs being worn and titles used in public courtrooms that he is serving in have resulted in him being rebuked by his superiors.
On 21 January 2013, Judge Carney sentenced 72-year-old sex offender Patrick O’Brien to 12 years in jail with nine years suspended for raping and sexually assaulting his daughter. Carney then granted the convicted man bail pending an appeal, which was considered by legal commentators to be "very unusual" since bail is usually only granted before someone is sentenced. Three days later Judge Carney revoked the bail, and apologised and admitted he was wrong and insensitive to the victim.