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Shell to Sea Court Applications Send Judge Mary Devins Running for the Door.

category mayo | environment | news report author Thursday April 09, 2009 23:33author by Rudiger - Shell to Sea Report this post to the editors

“Your Failure to be Impartial has Relegated You to a Judge of No Good Standing in this Community” - Niall Harnett

Members of the public in a packed Belmullet District Courtroom clapped and cheered as applications to Judge Mary Devins to disqualify herself were made by Shell to Sea lay litigants Niall Harnett and Eoin O'Leidhin in person, and by solicitor Alan Gannon on behalf of a number of his clients which include Pat 'the Chief' O'Donnell and Maura Harrington who all face charges relating to different incidents which happened late last summer in opposition to Shell's failed efforts to lay pipe at Glengad.

Niall Harnett was physically removed by Gardai from the court when he interrupted Judge Devins to say that the 'allegations' against her were “well warranted and true”. “Vicious, Unprecedented, Personal & Unwarranted” is how Judge Mary Devins is quoted in media as having responded to “the attack” of applications against her. But Midwest Radio news reported that Judge Devins denied that she gave any instruction to have Mr Harnett evicted from the courtroom.
'Glengad belongs to us, the community. It's worth any price to defend it' - Maura Harrington.
'Glengad belongs to us, the community. It's worth any price to defend it' - Maura Harrington.

Also today "Green?” Minister Eamon Ryan signed off on Shell’s 2009 Environmental Management Plan, which sought consent to start works in relation to the offshore section of the pipeline up to the Glengad valve facility. The consent document is available here:http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/NR/rdonlyres/032E45FA-2905-4A8E...1.pdf

This latest news accompanies the fact that Shell security has begun setting up a security compound in Glengad indicating that works at Glengad will begin in the very near future.

How things evolved in court.

The first person to make an application for Judge Devins to recuse herself was Niall Harnett of the Rossport Solidarity Camp. In his application Mr Harnett put it to Judge Devins that she had shown ill-will towards him, penalised him as a lay litigant and revealed her dishonesty in her application of decisions against him in his previous efforts to prosecute Gardai. Mr Harnett went on to say that her non-impartiality “has relegated you to a judge of no good standing within this community". Mr Harnett was given a rousing round of applause on completion of his application, leaving Judge Devins in no doubt that the majority of the courtroom agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed.

Judge Devins refused to disqualify herself saying that her “impartiality cannot be impugned” and that “any analysis by any interested person, other than those with a colourful agenda, would show her obvious impartiality” She also made the rather bizarre comment that that same impartiality would be shown up in the statistics.

Judge Devins then set a special date of the 18th May for the hearing of Mr Harnett’s cases.

Then followed a similar, but distinct application by Eoin Ó Leidhin to ask for the recusal of Judge Devins. However Mr Ó Leidhin was only able to get half way through his first point of submission before he was cut short by Judge Devins, who refused to hear the rest of his application. Mr Ó Leidhin made every effort to continue his application, which included the assertion that Judge Devins had previously questioned his motivation as a witness in another case, and in those circumstances he felt that she was already of a mind against him. Judge Devins continued to interrupt him as he attempted to make his application; she set a date for hearing for the 18th May and left the court abruptly to jeers from the assembled crowd.

"Eoin's application was the most comprehensive and well articulated submission of the day in favour of her recusal, and it's an absolute disgrace that she walked out as he was making it, and in asking the Gardai to shut him up on her return to court, she denied the public the right and the opportunity of hearing Eoin's arguments in full", said Niall Harnett.

When the judge returned to court, solicitor Alan Gannon, representing Pat O’Donnell, also asked Judge Devins to disqualify herself, which again she refused. Mr Gannon is representing 3 Shell to Sea supporters who are charged with various offences arising out of a cavalcade that was held in support of Maura Harrington’s hunger-strike last September. Another defense solicitor is representing a further three people who are charged in relation to the same incident. Regarding the hearing for this case, Alan Gannon stated that he thought there would be in the region of 20 to 40 defense witnesses involved so he envisaged the hearing would take a number of days.
Mr Gannon went on to make another application to the judge to disqualify herself from the cases involving Maura Harrington. Mr Gannon stated that when sentencing Ms Harrington last month, Judge Devins had claimed to have seen a video of Ms Harrington slapping the Garda, however Mr Gannon stated the Judge hadn’t been shown any such evidence. Mr Gannon claimed that Judge Devins had been “bombarded” with information regarding Ms Harrington and that “other matters were operating” in Judge Devins’ mind and Judge Devins had inadvertently drawn in other matters from other cases. Mr Gannon also questioned why Judge Devins had directed that Ms Harrington should receive a psychiatric assessment, as no issue about Ms Harrington’s state of mind had been raised during the hearing. Mr Gannon stated that his client feared that the Judge had seen a lot of information of incidents involving his client and that the Judge wouldn’t be able to disassociate what she had previously seen in other cases from the particular case being prosecuted now.

Judge Devins refused Mr Gannon’s application and described the 'unique personal attack' against her as “vicious, unprecedented, unwarranted and untrue". At this stage Niall Harnett who was seated in the courtroom interrupted her to say that “It was well warranted and true”. At this stage Judge Devins called on Superintendent Larkin to ensure silence in the court. Supt. Larkin then appeared to indicate to a number of Gardaí to remove Mr Harnett from the courtroom. A number of Gardaí then forcefully removed Mr Harnett from the courtroom (the most aggressive Garda was one that Mr Harnett had recently tried to prosecute for assault but the case was struck out while Mr Hartnett lay in hospital). Again the courtroom erupted in protest and again Judge Devins left the courtroom.

When she returned Judge Devins claimed that she had directed that psychiatric assessment be carried for Maura Harrington’s own benefit as her actions were extreme and in case she was a “danger to herself”. Judge Devins also made the point that Maura Harrington had not appealed the decision to jail her for 28 days. Judge Devins dismissed the criticisms of her previous ruling against Ms Harrington as uninformed and noted that some had taken advantage of special privileges to cover themselves in their attacks (presumably directed at Senator David Norris, who attacked Judge Devins’ judgement in the Seanad). Judge Devins then refused to disqualify herself.

The hearing of charges against Maura Harrington.

The defense case for Maura Harrington was then heard where she is charged with a Section 2 assault on an IRMS security guard and trespass on the farmyard Shell were using. In giving evidence against the charges Maura Harrington stated the she didn’t assault the security guard as alleged. She also stated that she is a relative of the owner of the farmyard and had visited his home plenty of times. Ms Harrington stated she had approached the security guards to find out who they were as there had been a lot of anxiety in the general population regarding the appearance and behavior of these people who wore no identifying marks. Ms Harrington stated the security guards had been using cameras to record peoples’ movement in the area, on the road as well as on the beach.

The next person to give evidence was Colm Henry, who is a Glengad resident who lives 60 to 70 metres away from the yard Shell security were using. He stated that he hadn’t had any participation in the protests but that since early April 08, he and his family had been terrorised by the people with cameras. He stated the security would routinely be filming or watching through binoculars both him and his family going about their business, including filming his wife putting out the washing. They had also filmed him and his grandchildren while they were down on the beach. He said he had made complaints to the Gardaí but hadn’t heard anything back.

In summing up the defense case, Alan Gannon stated that he believed that the security personnel who were on the site were in breach of the Security Act 2004, which overall could lead to a harsher sentence than the charges his client was up on. He questioned how it was that the investigating Garda Hugh Egan had failed to follow up the apparent breach of the security guards not wearing identity badges.

Judge Devins adjourned the case until the 13th of May for her decision.

Irish Times Report – 'Judge's refusal sparks unruly scenes in Corrib case' : http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0409/1....html

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by Rudigerpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 23:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Application of Niall Harnett for the Recusal of Judge Mary Devins.

8th April 2009

I, Niall Harnett of Barr Na Coille, Pollathomas, Ballina, Co Mayo, make application to this court for the recusal of Judge Mary Devins and I ask you, judge to disqualify yourself from hearing any cases against me on the following grounds:

1. You are compromised by the fact that you are the wife of a minister in a government whose policy and stance on the Shell Corrib Gas Project is one that I am actively involved in opposing as a Shell to Sea campaigner.

2. You have used the fact that I am a lay-litigant to penalise me at every opportunity rather than affording me the latitude I need to achieve the fundamental and constitutional right of the full and fair administration of justice. You say that dishonesty is something that you will not tolerate in your court yet your own dishonesty in selectively choosing to avoid applying fairness to me is plainly obvious to any reasonable observer, despite my own honesty to this court at all times.

In one instance you disallowed me time to fully prepare my own prosecution case against Gardai and denied me fair procedure to develop my case and seek access to data in time constraints imposed by the Data Protection Act. You denied an application by me for more time on those grounds, and you went on to fix a date for hearing, peremptory against me. You then went on to strike out my prosecution case when I was hospitalised by an injury, despite every reasonable effort, in the circumstances, to explain to all parties why I couldn't come to court to prosecute my case on the day.

3. You have demonstrated ill-will towards me, and shown favour to my opponents at any opportunity where your discretion appears to allow you to do so, which is contrary to your solemn constitutional oath and anathema to the simple but fundamental principle of fairness. And your impartiality in this court has relegated you to a judge of no good standing within this community.

For these reasons I submit that you should recuse yourself from hearing any case against me in the future.

Signed, Niall Harnett

Application by Eoin Ó Leidhin for Judge Mary Devins to recuse herself.

8th April 2009

I, Eoin Ó Leidhin of Barr na Coilleadh, Pollathomais, Erris, Co. Mayo, make this application to this court for the recusal of Judge Mary Devins for the following reasons:

I am a Shell to Sea supporter and a member of Rossport Solidarity Camp. I feel, from what I have witnessed in the court of Judge Devins during almost two years of attending Belmullet, Ballycroy and Achill District Courts in support of the local community's opposition to Corrib Project, that I will not receive a fair and impartial trial.

Below are some examples of cases which have led me to the opinion that I will not receive a fair trial before Judge Devins.

1. In Ballycroy Court, on the 10th of December 2008, Judge Devins found Shell to Sea protester Michael Healy guilty of obstructing a Garda despite Judge Devins stating that there was “inconsistencies, uncertainties and lacunae” in the garda evidence. The judgment totally ignored how 3 of the accused received injuries on the morning of the incident that required medical attention and never dealt with how the Garda’s evidence failed to account for these injuries. In this case even though Judge Devins accepted that the prosecution case wasn't a pretty picture in its totality, Judge Devins still refused to accept the evidence of 3 of the protestors and instead accepted that section of the Garda’s evidence.

2. In Achill District Court, on Thursday 12th March 2009, Judge Devins threw out the case of Niall Harnett in which he was attempting to prosecute 3 Gardaí. Niall Harnett was unable to attend the court due to being in hospital. Judge Devins' decision to throw out a prosecution against Gardaí while the prosecutor lay in hospital indicates an unwillingness to deal with Garda violence on an equal footing as alleged protestor violence.

I gave evidence to the court on that day to inform the court of the reasons behind Mr Harnett's absence. Following my evidence, Judge Devins claimed that she believed my contact with Mr Harnett the night before was motivated by my wish to ensure that a lot of Shell to Sea supporters turned up in court rather than by concern regarding Mr Harnett’s state of health. In my evidence I stated that my primary motivation in contacting Mr Harnett, a friend and colleague of mine, the night before was to establish his state of health and how badly he was injured. If Judge Devins is willing to question that my concern for the health and well-being of my friends isn’t genuine then I feel that my concerns about the well-being of this community and beautiful area will also be questioned. If my base motives for my involvement in this community struggle are already being questioned by the judicial officer then I don’t feel I will get an impartial trial.

3. On Wednesday the 11th March 2009, in sentencing Maura Harrington, Judge Devins directed that Ms Harrington should undergo a psychiatric assessment to address what Judge Devins termed Ms Harrington's “bizarre” actions. Judge Devins also seemed to question Ms Harrington's motivations, stating that she was less inclined to believe Ms Harrington's passion for her cause having “witnessed the enjoyment she seems to get in being in the public limelight”. For Judge Devins to question the passion of Ms Harrington to the cause of defending her community and local area defies logic. Ms Harrington has put her life on the line because of her beliefs and both she and her family have suffered injury and severe intimidation as a result of this campaign. Once again if Judge Devins sees fit to cast aspirations on the motivations of Shell to Sea protesters, and seems unwilling to accept the bona-fides of their motives then I don't see how I will get a fair trial before Judge Devins.

4. Every case involving Shell to Sea protesters and Judge Devins that has been appealed has received either a less severe sentence or a not-guilty verdict. One of the cases appealed involved Sgt Gary Walsh who is the complaint Garda in my case. Judge Devins chose to believe the evidence of Sgt Walsh in that previous case and convicted a Shell to Sea protestor of assault, on appeal it was found however that there was insufficient evidence to convict on assault.

5. The two judicial reviews that have been taken against Judge Devins’ application decisions have overturned her decisions.

6. The Gardaí seem to deem the court of Judge Devins a more favourable location to get a conviction against Shell to Sea protestors than the Circuit court. In instances where the injuries claimed by Gardaí would seem to point toward an indictable charge, they have none the less always been charged as summary offences. One case that came before Judge Devins in which a Garda claimed injury saw Judge Devins refuse jurisdiction due to the alleged injuries and instead sent the case to the Circuit Court. The Gardaí then subsequently dropped the charges before the case made its way to the Circuit Court. Judge Devins has previously briefly commented on these issues herself.

7. Judge Devins previously stated that she has received “hate mail” relating to her dealings with Shell to Sea.

8. Judge Devins is married to a Government minister. Shell to Sea is a group that actively opposes Government policy with regard to the Corrib Gas project and the current Oil & Gas licensing terms.

9. There have been a number of newspaper articles which have questioned Judge Devins' dealings with those protesting against Shell. These include among others articles and letters in the Irish Times, the Sunday Tribune, Mayo News and Phoenix magazine. In the Seanad, referring to the decision to refer Maura Harrington for a psychiatric assessment, Senator David Norris stated that he thought it was “terribly, terribly dangerous” to start using psychiatry to control political expression. Refering to the conduct of Judge Devins on just one days siting, an Irish barrister Shauna Ní Ghiolláin who practices in London stated that she had “never witnessed a display of this kind in court of either jurisdiction with which I am familiar. My overall impression is that Judge Devins is overtly biased against those protesting against Shell. My impression is based on statements made in court by the judge, as well as her general attitude to individual protesters giving evidence or otherwise addressing the court during the day’s proceedings”.

In her Supreme Court judgment in the Bula Ltd. Vs. Tara Ltd on the 3rd July 2000, Justice Denham stated:

“The question is whether a reasonable, objective and informed person would on the correct facts reasonably apprehend that the judge has not or will not bring an impartial mind to bear on the adjudication of the case, that is a mind open to persuasion by the evidence and the submissions of counsel.”

Justice Denham continued:
“it must never be forgotten that an impartial judge is a fundamental prerequisite for a fair trial and a judicial officer should not hesitate to recuse herself or himself if there are reasonable grounds on the part of the litigant for apprehending that the judicial officer, for whatever reasons, was not or will not be impartial.”

In the case Rooney Vs. the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Justice Keane stated:
“Where one or other party does invite a judge to disqualify himself, the established and prudent practice has been for the judge concerned to disqualify himself if he has any reservations about the matter.”

I contend, it seems unlikely that Judge Devins will be able to remain impartial in this case, given her history with those protesting against Shell’s plans.

I would also contend that reasonable, objective and informed people have questioned Judge Devins judgments’ against those protesting against Shell.

Having witnessed her conduct for close to two years now, I don’t feel I will get a fair and impartial trial if it is presided over by Judge Devins


Eoin Ó Leidhin

author by gubupublication date Fri Apr 10, 2009 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“Vicious, Unprecedented, Personal & Unwarranted”?

I'm calling her Judge VUPU from now on.

author by LPpublication date Fri Apr 10, 2009 08:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Devins herself is VUPU. The applications were well-researched and well put-together, fair play. Devins has no-one to blame but herself.

author by James Kelly.publication date Fri Apr 10, 2009 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If I remember correctly, the mass butcher Pinochet was freed in effect, by the House of Lords decision that the judge who heard his case could not determine the issue in a fair and unbiased manner, because his wife was a member of Amnesty International.

I recall thinking at the time that surley all judges should themselves be members of Amnesty International, never mind their spouses, given that human rights issues are central to Amnesty International, but there you go, Pinochet got away from the clutches of the Spanish authorities who wanted to try him for the murder of spanish citizens in Chile.

Im sure there are pleny more examples of judges recussing themselves, but the Pinochet case set up a precedent for spouses.

Take note Mary Devins and also remember that : A balanced judgement requires a balanced mind.

author by Sean - Amnesty Internationalpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 00:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Judge Devins is, by her gross partiality and disregard for justice seen to be done, is clearly unfit to preside over any future Shell to Sea cases, can she be removed by going beyond the reaches of her own self serving, malodorous, self denial.?

author by Arm-a-Geddenpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 00:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Law is an Ass, this fiasco certainly proves that point very well.

Judge for yourself.

author by Róisínpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Or is it that the law is made to slyly APPEAR like an ass - as and when it suits the bullyboys and bullygirls pulling the levers of the law?

One thing seems certain: they seem to know nothing -- and care nothing -- about facing up to the genuine concerns of local people, and dealing with such concerns in a reasonable and responsible way.

Everything they know seems to relate entirely to sweeping all such local concerns beneath their now threadbare and very fraudulent looking "legal carpet", and then going on to bulldozing the local people into submission: under the threat (and sometimes the reality) of criminalisation, fines, and imprisonment -- plus all the mental torture which normally and inevitably accompanies such brute force activities.

Not exactly the work of an ass, is it?

I wonder if any of the lawyers involved (particularly Judge Mary Devins) have ever heard ANYTHING yet about the United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement which the Republic of Ireland signed on June 25th 1998, and then MYSTERIOUSLY failed to "lay before Dail Eireann" as is required under Article 29.5.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann. (For more on this subject please see at: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Aarhus+Convention+...f&oq= )

As I believe any ass with the ability to read the text of the UN Aarhus Convention Agreement will conclude, many (possibly all) of the wide-ranging set of problems relating to this whole business could easily have been avoided: if the most BASIC rules of our Constitution were being abided by.

Why are our Government lawyers (asses or otherwise) still being allowed to get away with the socially destructive Article 29.5.1 abuse of our Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann)?

From where have the Government lawyers in question received the authority to violate our Constitution (the basic law of the land) regarding the United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement?

And what about our "defence" lawyers? Why are they also silent on this crucially important Constitutional aspect of the whole business?

Who are they really "defending" I wonder, and who are they really protecting?

Asses all?

Personally, I very much doubt it.

"Iron fools" more like (I'd say), who know how to fool people in major ways by acting stupid.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Eamon Ryan knows all about the Aarhus agreement, he also knows that ireland is the only one of 82 signitaries that has not ratified it, thereby denying the Irish people the right to seek international law. Fianna Fail have decades of practice at fooling the Irish people and they are still at it. Shame on the people for letting them.
WE all abhore violence but i believe that when a private security thug uses violence on peacefull citizens those citizens have the right to protect themselves. The Gardai are not protecting you, the judiciary is denying you justice and the media under Fianna Fail control likewise, and they say that we are a democracy, is that not fooling you.

author by Erínpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is certainly the case that Green Party Government Minister Trevor Sargent knows all about the Aarhus Convention Agreement, and that he has known about it for many years now, as can be verified via links such as: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Trevor+Sargent%2C+...f&oq=

For political parties like the Green Party, it seems to me that any reasonable person who has read the text of the International United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement, available (in numerous languages) via http://www.unece.org/env/pp/treatytext.htm , might easily end up thinking it is something of a "gift from heaven" for "Green" Ministers Sargent and Gormley, and that they would fight hammer-and-tongs" to have it "laid before Dail Eireann", and not stop fighting until it was ratified -- a process which could (I believe) have been completed YEARS ago in a "corruption free" Government environment.

But not a bit of it.

Correctly or otherwise, I can only assume Government Ministers Sargent and Gormley (and their colleagues in the Green Party) came across much more attractive "gifts" (for themselves) from one or more earthly sources, and hence their very lengthy "deafening silence" on this crucially important UN Agreement: while not forgetting of course the abandonment of the people who trusted the Green Party and who voted for them, a matter which may yet return to haunt the Green Party leaders: especially in and around the Glengad area I'd imagine?

author by John Murray.publication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 22:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The notion that the "law is an ass" is, whether intended or not, a nice, neat, little phrase to shut down criticial thinking on how to deal with very real practical problems which can land you in jail as well as other punitive sanctions.

As noted in the post above these people are far from asses, they can and do stitch people up under the 'colour of law'. They make up their own 'law' and their victims are in the main ignorant of the actual law and of their constiutional rights and end up behind bars, and sometimes with broken bones or worse.

Constitutional rights are invoked by those with money and they can and do throw spanners in the works all over the place. The ill informed ones are the ones who end up being the assess getting shafted by 'the authorities'.

What is happenning in Rossport is like a microcosm of the North of Ireland when the Unionist Party held sway and a pretence of law or human rights was not even on the agenda.

I fully agree with the notion of advertising the relevant websites on a mass, countrywide, scale, state and corporate media will never do this, they will do the very opposite and they have the mass of the people clueless as to what is going on in Rossport and the plunder of our natural resources.

Solidarity. J M.

author by Arm-a-Geddenpublication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 23:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As noted in the post above these people are far from asses, yes I totally agree,

I feel that I have been picked up wrongly on my previous post, I was not making reference to Niall and Eoin's Aplications for the Judge to
recuse herself, but reference to the Judges failure to disqualify herself when called on to do so, also there is a major conflict of interest in that she is the wife of a F/Fail Minister who is also pro Shell, needless to say this is farcical, and does bring into question the Independence of the Judicial system.I hope this clears that up.

author by pat gilmartinpublication date Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:33author email pat.gilmartin at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.......Montesquieu. 1742

author by MacEpublication date Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The banner says it all; Devins and the Mayo cops are really trying to criminalise an entire community because of its defiance of power.

author by Benpublication date Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

OP - 'Judge Devins had claimed to have seen a video of Ms Harrington slapping the Garda, however Mr Gannon stated the Judge hadn’t been shown any such evidence.'

This is the most serious part of the day's events and must be addressed by the Judge.
The solicitor tactfully advances a fairly harmless explanation but there may be an alternative, very sinister explanation, which would necessitate an immediate resignation.

Either way, if the O.P. is correct, the Judge has some explaining to do.

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Tue Apr 14, 2009 00:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

............maybe she can also explain why she refused a Shell to Sea man free legal aid at the January sitting even though he had a letter

from Social Welfare proving that he had recently become unemployed.

author by Lemuelpublication date Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As Sean of Amnesty International points out in passing, justice must not only be done, but it must be SEEN to be done.

In the second (mis)trial of the Pitstop Ploughshares, counsel for the defence successfully argued that the judge, Donagh McDonagh, should recuse himself because he had social associations with President Bush. In particular, he had attended Bush's first inaugural dinner, and had also been invited to his second inaugural dinner.

They argued as follows (quote may not be perfect):
It is not that we think you are impartial, my Lord, but an objective observer might reach the conclusion that you are not impartial.

They argued that if an ordinary citizen in similar circumstances were called to do jury duty in a case on which the role of Mr. Bush might have some bearing, he (or she) would be obliged to declare that he had been to dinner with Bush, so that the defence might request that he be taken off the jury, and that if he did not do so in advance, then the judgement might subsequently be overturned.

They also argued as follows:
Justice must not only be done, it must be SEEN to be done.

Important questions now arise:
Would an objective observer consider Judge Devins, as the wife of a minister, to be impartial in a case of such immense political import for the current government?

This criterion might be sufficient in itself to undermine the perception of her impartiality, but if she goes on resisting the argument despite the hazard her behaviour poses to popular trust in the impartiality of our courts, then it might be relevant to ask the following:
Has Judge Devins ever engaged in any social business hosted by other ministers, politicians or businesspeople who have even closer associations with the Shell project?

If so, then she is bringing us all for a walk on very thin ice. Even as matters stand, the ice is not very thick.

By the way, could application be made to have such cases heard in another court at a remove from the local community, where so much controversy is raging? - As the Pitstop Ploughshares did. Would this be feasible in a non-jury trial? Could it be argued that circumstances in the local community could influence the judge, at it might have influenced any jury drawn from the local community in the vicinity of Shannon Airport?

Go n-éirí go geal agus go cóir libh.

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Wed Apr 15, 2009 17:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yours is a heroic struggle on all fronts. You are fighting corruption in the State through the courts, on the roads and on the beach.

As a pacifist, I wish and hope, in spite of all the violent provocation and assaults made against you, the injuries you have sustained and the desertion of quondam Green politician supporters into the very power structures that oppress you, that your struggle will remain non-violent.. It will be all the more powerful for that.

Of course Mary Devins should not sit in judgement on cases such as this when she is compromised by being the wife of a Fianna Fail minister whose party support Shell disgracefully through thick and thin. The requests for her recusal were brilliant.

Keep up heart. Go n-eiri go geal libh - agus go luath.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Thu Apr 16, 2009 17:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some people have been permanently injured by by Fianna fail and shells thugs. an old person can not recover from injury like a young person. Pacifists have noble ideals that we all agree with, but in an anti democratic,fascist society the crooks play people for fools. Shell is owned by the British and dutch and the british are not averse to starting wars on their behalf.
Read [Unpeople by Mark Curtis ]who has been analising records of British activity for decades.
Birtain has a strategic interest in this project and i believe secret deals have been made.

author by lulupublication date Thu Apr 16, 2009 20:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's investors from many countries who are happy to get a profit from Shell, but who'd be surprised if the British Government had an interest in Irish resources? They won't tell their own people about their grounds for invading Iraq, but expect them to pay for it in blood & taxes. Nothing at all against British people; some of them are supporting Erris' finest, Shell to Sea.

author by James Kelly.publication date Wed May 27, 2009 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maura languishes in Mountjoy prison while our "deeply, deeply corrupt" (to paraphrase Eamon Dunphy today) institutions and government cover up and try to justify crimes against children etc etc.

I heard Maura got 21 days "minimum".

Does anyone know what the maximum sentence is please ?

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Thu May 28, 2009 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nobody's certain. Word is she's being released this Monday, 1st June.

author by Rudi Affolterpublication date Mon May 10, 2010 11:29author email Rudi at beethoven dot fsnet dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of Judge Mary Devins denials that her connections had any influence on her: "Well she would wouldn't she?" (For younger members see Mandy Rice-Davies's words in response to a question put to her at the Profumo scandal/trial of about 1963.)

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