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Community outrage over unjust sentencing

category mayo | environment | news report author Thursday July 12, 2007 16:09author by Max Report this post to the editors

Yesterday the court at Belmullet was full to capacity with many standing as a number of cases related to the controversial Corrib gas project were heard. By now people will be aware of the miscarriage of justice that was the case for “Chief” Pat O’Donnell, his son Jonathan and Enda Carey (more on this below) but there were also a couple of other cases that related to Shell to Sea campaigners.

A local spokesperson stands falsely accused of assault in a further demonstration of political policing in Erris but the hearing for this case has been moved forward to September. In the case of five protesters who blockaded Shramore peat depository last month the judge was unwilling to accept concerns about abnormal levels of aluminium found in the drinking water supply as reasonable cause for the blockade. She cited lack of expertise as the reason - this is in line with her previous rubbishing of another case last month where a man attempting to communicate his rights under the constitution was dismissed because he wasn’t a lawyer and he was further dismissed for posting items on Indymedia “so now you think you’re a journalist!”

Her consistent condescension even stretched to facetiously suggesting that the blockaders were unsound of mind. There weren’t many people in the court room that found her remarks or decisions amusing. It has unfortunately become clear that her world is one where one rule applies to her and another to the rest of humanity. Procedural faults were taken advantage of last month to dismiss a case where a man was assaulted by Gardai and had his camera stolen. Yet her process was sufficiently blurred that two of the three fishermen wrongfully accused of assault weren’t even in court for sentencing as they had been informed that further submissions in their case would be heard and that sentencing wouldn’t be until September.

In the case of the assault charges the Judge had the audacity to state that there had not been any serious injuries of protesters at the Bellanaboy site and that this therefore somehow demonstrated that there had been intent to assault the gardai on the part of the accused. She mentioned that she had some reservations about the quality of the Gardai evidence - in particular that Johnathan O Donell was right handed but that the punch was alleged to have been delivered with the left, the Guard himself did not know whether they had been hit by “a car or a person” and couldn‘t positively identify anyone. Furthermore the Gardai camera crew who have managed to be everywhere else didn‘t capture the incident and the evidence given by individual Gardai was contradictory. Judge Devins also stated that the DPP should not have been trying them under section three assault as she felt that the injury didn’t warrant that level of charge having seen more serious section two assaults in her time - that said however she proceeded to sentence the men under that section anyway - three months (plus one extra month for Johnathan O Donnell) and a 500 Euro fine. When the sentence was delivered people were generally transfixed somewhere between a sense of shock and a feeling of disbelief.

This situation turned to outrage this morning at Bellanboy -over 80 protesters made numerous attempts to block construction traffic along the road to the compound and at a number of different gates. There was widespread heavy-handedness from the Gardai who are presumably revelling in their newfound impunity. They must be under the impression that they are now completely untouchable - I personally witnessed a Guard eye-gouging a fifteen year old. In another case a protester was thrown to the ground violently causing extensive bruising to her hips, elbow and leg. No doubt there were further incidents occurring but I was unable to stay in the area - feeling sick to the stomach by what I had witnessed in the last 24 hours. I think it’s doubtful that any charges will brought against the Gardai responsible as citizens are rapidly losing whatever faith they had left in the legal system.

After the protest at Bellanaboy a number of people went to the bail hearing for the three fishermen. Bail was denied for a number of arbitrary reasons - she wouldn’t accept cash (unlike her husbands party leader) for a bond, she wouldn’t accept statements from bank accounts as they were joint bank accounts and she required both people to be present. Further to this when a single named bank account statement was presented - it was dismissed as invalid for not being recent enough - they then presented an ATM receipt from today which was laughed out of court by Judge Devins. How this or any of it can be deemed to be funny is beyond me. Peoples civil liberties in Erris are being systematically demolished - now political policing is backed up by a judge whose impartiality is at best questionable and at worst a joke. With the Irish political classes and police firmly under Shells thumb perhaps unsurprisingly the judiciary have followed suit. What hope is there now for peaceful protesters framed for assault under flagrant examples of political policing when Kangaroo courts take the Gardai at their word? This situation is nothing short of reprehensible

Max

author by Anthony O'Halloranpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Judge Mary Devins is married to Fianna Fail junior government minister, Dr Jimmy Devins TD.

Promotion for a judge from District Court to Circuit Court requires government approval.

No evidence to convict but she believed the word of the Gardaí. Just like Donegal.

Lack of evidence accounted for in this report: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82730

author by marianmorpublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 00:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

quoting from report, by Max . (interalia)"the guard himself did not know whether they were hit by a car or a person and could'nt positively identify anyone" "Evidence given by individual gardai was contradictory" The saying 'the law is an ass' immediately comes to mind in the light of the sentences passed down. My tuppence worth of view in this serious matter is that a case be brought against Judge Mary Devins by way of Certioari and that is a summons/writ by which a higher court reviews a case tried in a lower court. The matter is such that the Judiciary might as well put 'the law is an ass' on all judicial paperwork relating to the courts instead of 'Courts of Justice' Good luck to the men whether they be in jail or awaiting fresh appeal applications. People need to stand up for their rights and stick together. Oiche maith.

author by Robocoppublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Big lawyers and separate sentencing for yob behaviour
of course - Judges must only deal with evidence, but
you don't see them incarcerating the cops- do you???

author by 50 M Ohmpublication date Thu Jul 19, 2007 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

can ye tell us what jail so we can send cards in support?

author by mayoboggerpublication date Thu Jul 19, 2007 18:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After almost a week there are only four comments appearing on this thread. All are supportive of the people who were convicted for assaulting the Gardai. This would give the appearance that there is a unanimity of support for these convicts among the Indymedia community. The problem is that a far larger number of comments and reactions - all of them critical of these people - have been removed by the Indymedia censors.

What are they trying to suppress?

The fact that there little community support in Mayo or anywhere else for this sort of violent and counterproductive action is what they are trying yo hide.

Obviously Indymedia is an unreliable source of information. Obviously Indymedia cannot trust its readers to be told the whole truth when it conflicts with what its commisars want us to believe.

This contribution will be flicked. However, before it goes, I expect a number of the innocents who previously had faith in Indymedia as a reliable source will be wised up.

Every litle bit - as they say..............

 
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