Paul Carney (1943 – 24 September 2015) was a judge of the Irish High Court and the presiding judge of its criminal division, the Central Criminal Court.
Carney was born in Dublin. He was regarded as a leading expert on Irish criminal law and presided over murder and rape trials since his appointment to the High Court in 1991.
Carney was 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.
Criminal Division, High Court
Carney, as the "listing judge" of the criminal division of the High Court and the only judge permanently assigned to the Central Criminal Court, heard seven out of every 10 rape cases and over half of all murder trials in the State.
Wearing of wigs
His views on many issues were controversial, and his insistence upon wigs being worn and titles used in public courtrooms that he was serving in resulted in his being rebuked by his superiors.
Patrick O’Brien bail
On 21 January 2013, 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 Carney revoked the bail, and apologised and admitted he was wrong and insensitive to the victim.
- Adjunct Professors, Mr Justice Paul Carney University College Cork.
- Irish Times death notice
- "Former judge Justice Paul Carney dies aged 72". UTV Ireland. 24 September 2015.
- "Controversial judge who is not afraid to speak out". Independent.ie.
- The Big H ensures judges make their presence felt: ThePost.ie
- "Trial judge 'may have felt hands tied'". The Irish Times. 23 January 2013.
- "Judge apologises as evil rapist father is finally jailed". Independent.ie.