Wandering down the corridors of the four courts today we were met with a edifying sight. Dozens of John Gill's supporters had turned up. It was around 10.15am and already John Gill had a sizeable number of well-wishers around him.
He was kept busy shaking hands, greeting friends old and new and handing out copies of his affidavit to members of the press (Indy reporters included, indeed we were first to get a copy).
At 10.30, the appointed time for the case to begin, we were told to wait around as things were not ready to proceed.
Whilst we waited, a number of supporters came into the reception area carrying a rolled up banner on poles. How the security let them in with it is a bit of a mystery! A few minutes later a large Garda came over and demanded that the banner be removed, with an incredulous "you can't bring that into the court." The supporter carrying the banner immediately complied. The same Garda then approached another supporter carrying a large banner that was rolled up, around a long umbrella, for portability. This banner was unfurled to display part of a commercial advertisement. It bore the legend 'Gardening Now In Store'. The couple who brought it had recycled it from it's previous incarnation but didn't have time to write a slogan on it. Consequently it was allowed to stay and the Guard walked away laughing.
A few minutes after eleven we went into the Hugh Kennedy Court Room.
The first thing that stuck out was the flag that was present in the Court. It was Green, White, Orange and had a Golden trim.
Article 7 of the Irish Constitution states: The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange.
The small Court was so packed with supporters that they were lined up two deep along the back wall. One wag commented that the only available seat was on the registrar's lap. Even the witness had to stand at the back.
After the registrar had been called into the Judge’s chambers three times, the case finally got under way. It was 11.20am.
It began very cordially. Judge Michael Hanna wished everyone in the Court room a ‘good morning.’
The barrister, a Mr. O'Higgins, acting on the behalf of the defendant, Jayne Maguire, started out by telling the court details of the case and events that had happened since the court last sat. On that date, September 13th last, an order was made that had been served on the domain provider, Godaddy.com, who had subsequently suspended service to the website. However, he stated that the website could still be accessed by the IP number. He also stated that the suspension of service only took place by reason of the activities of the American service provider.
Watching a man in a wig and gown use phrases like ‘Go Daddy,’ before the learned Judge was difficult to endure without breaking one’s arse laughing. The Barrister looked very uncomfortable indeed. He described new content that appeared yesterday, 4th October, on the www.rate-yoursolicitor.com site as the ‘grossest possible contempt for this Court.’ http://indymedia.ie/article/78805&comment_limit=0&conde...70160
This comment was described as a long spiel indicating the separateness of VLPS (victims of the legal profession) and Rate Your Solicitor. Mr. O'Higgins then read from the comment, ascribed to the Rate Your Solicitor Management. It included phrases such as 'everyone is free to post comments on this site' and 'they will simply have to adjust to the fact that the Internet has changed the world quite dramatically in a very short time'. He described it as a lengthy tirade in relation to this matter and quoted from the comment along the lines of 'if proceedings continue after October 5th then any injunction granted by the Court will be ignored'.
After elaborating on this ‘threat’ to the court he went on to describe the perpetrators ‘whoever they are.’ One can only surmise that the barrister was confused as to who exactly was being litigated. At one point he gave the new web address as www.rate-yoursolicitor.ie This is quite obviously false as the site is not in Ireland.
Mr. O'Higgins then stated that 'Mr. Gill denies any connection to this site' and later that he (Mr. O'Higgins) 'didn't realise' that he would have to ask the Court to 'take any steps today' until the new content was found on the site.
The Barrister then asked the Court for an order directing 'Digiweb Ltd.' to make discovery to trace the elusive culprit who set up RYS. This discovery order was to include all electronic records of person or persons, assigned or using IP 22.214.171.124 at or on 4th October at 16:44:40 + 0100. This he said would tell us who is lawyercatcher @ lawyer(dot)com and that an account would have to be held. .
The Judge asked Mr. Gill if he understood what was happening and explained that it is an application for discovery. Mr. Gill replied that his only concern was for himself and the people around him who were being robbed of their livelihoods. The Judge commented to Mr. Gill that 'he had some grievance's and that he was 'entitled to have some grievance's but that he, the Judge, needed to hear the full particulars first. He asked Mr. Gill to 'for the moment, park that' and that 'if it turns out that Lawyercatcher is not you, then it helps your case'. He also stated to Mr. Gill that 'you and I share the same ignorance of the internet'. He then said that he was 'going to hear the evidence' and that 'apparently he is an expert' who is 'going to tell us how we find out who Lawyercatcher is'. He also stated that 'hard copies of evidence would be made available to both parties'.
He then called the days only witness.
Lawyercatcher @ lawyer(dot)com IP 126.96.36.199 is to be traced by a forensic computer expert, a Mr. Andrew Harbison, a soft spoken chap with a slight American accent, who is employed by Deloitte
He told the court that RYS was registered to John Smith of Red Square Moscow.
Mr. Harbison promised to track down the elusive Lawyercatcher @ lawyer(dot)com if given permission to do so by the Court. He told the Court that he had sent an email to this email address with a ‘web beacon’ attached to it, and that he could trace the account holder if he could compare times and IP numbers with David Roze the Administrative Contact for Digiweb in Dundalk. He also stated that 'payment details' made in return for service would make it possible to trace and that it was a 'substantial chance' to discover the IP address and URL from which the mail was collected. That it records who was connected to access the mail.
The Judge then turned the forensic computer detective over to John Gill asking if he would like to ask any questions. Mr. Gill told the court that he didn’t understand ‘computer jargon.’ The Judge corrected Mr. Gill and told him that it wasn’t ‘jargon’ but ‘black and white expert' evidence.
Mr. Gill asserting (not for the first time) that he was there to represent the wrongs perpetrated on members of the public by the legal profession, told the Judge that he didn’t have enough knowledge of computers to question the computer expert.
Mr. Gill said that he didn't want to ask any questions. The Judge then said that it was 'very complicated for anyone' and that 'Judges were not excluded from that'.
Mr. O'Higgins then asked that the order comes to the attention of Digiweb at the earliest time. The Judge replied that he was going to give you your order. O'Higgins' junior then said that words may be of value linked to the digits given. To which the Judge replied that they were 'entitled to an order for discovery'. He then told the Court that he proposed to adjourn the matter but that discovery was to be made on or before next Wednesday. He won't be proceeding next Thursday but would be checking on progress. He also intended to check out the mentioned websites and asked if there was 'any objection to me surfing the net?' There wasn't.
The Judge adjourned the case until next Thursday for mention.