By Anthony Sheridan
In a functional democracy the decision to defer the sentencing of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy until polling day would be seen as a blatant manipulation of the justice system in support of a political agenda.
And this questionable decision is not without precedent. In 2007 Judge Alan Mahon suspended the tribunal he was chairing until after the approaching election when then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was due to answer allegations made against him.
So, in 2007, a judge suspends an investigation that, if it had continued, would have resulted in bad publicity for a Taoiseach and his party in the run up to an election.
In 2016 a court decides to deliver a sentence on polling day which is likely to deliver massive political advantage to the incumbent government and do serious damage to the prospects of an opposition party.
The court could have waited until Monday 29 to deliver its sentence ensuring that the event remained solely one of justice. The decision to deliver the sentence on polling day has, whether intentional or not, turned the event into one of justice and politics.
No functional democracy would tolerate such an apparent manipulation of justice.