Court Report from Shannon District Court (Ennis)
Presiding Judge: Joseph Mangan
Prosecution : Inspector Kennedy
Defendants: Conor Cregan, Owen Rice, Elaine O'Sullivan, Zelda Jeffers.
Today in Ennis Court House, the sitting of Shannon District Court (long story) was expected to be fairly routine, even for the four peace activists facing charges before judge Mangan. As it turned out, the Judge was in no humour for routine.
TODAY in Shannon District Court, 4 peace activists were on the list for mention before Judge Joe Mangan.
All cases were put in for mention only and no trial date has been set for any of them.
Owen Rice faces allegations of dangerous driving in an empty car park at Shannon as well as breach of the Peace arising from two arrests a few hours before, and a few hours after a demonstration at Shannon in December 2003.
Conor Cregan, was arrested in the car park at Shannon town centre along with Owen Rice.
Both men denied the charges as groundless and dishonest and claim that the Gardai, knowing them to be peace activists, had been following them and that the charges are part of a pattern of harrassment.
Mr Rice has contended that the first arrest was designed to prevent him attending the demonstration at Shannon, and the second arrest (of both him and Mr Cregan) only happened when they photographed the Gardai who had been tailing them since his release from court only hours earlier.
The case has been up for mention on several occassions, but adjourned more than once because of the failure of the Garda Siochana to produce evidence when requested, and also due to proceedings taken by Rice in relation to bail conditions imposed on him by Judge Mangan.
Mr Rice has successfuly had the bail conditions reduced by the High Court, and is seeking to have them quashed entirely.
Neither of the two men was in court today.
Mr. Cregan, who was previously representing himself, sent his newly appointed solicitor to appear on his behalf.
Mr Rice told this reporter that his legal advice had been, as he was taking motions through higher courts (in relation to bail, and the provision of evidence) that the case would not be heard in the District Court until those matters were resolved.
Mr. Cregan's solicitor, asked for an adjournment, but the the judge, notably irritated, ignored the applications and ordered an arrest warrant to be issued for both men, (after asking Inspector Kennedy three times if the State wanted to ask for one)
After lunch, Elaine O'Sullivan and Zelda Jeffers appeared in court on charges of being on the airfield of Shannon Airport on Oct 31st 2004, without permission, contrary to the Airport Bye-laws.
The indymedia.ie website has photos taken by the two women as they held a vigil for the dead and dying victims of the war. The pair claim to have been inside the airfield for several hours in a peaceful vigil before they were detected by the Airport Police.
The pair have not entered a plea at this point.
Their solicitor, Ted McCarthy, sought an adjournment, and the case was put back to Fed 10th
The pair are on continuing bail, on condition that they do not come within 5 miles of the terminal building at Shannon Airport