Ongoing court appearances of peace activists at Shannon District Court
At Shannon District Court on 13th. May, 2004, peace activists Eoin Rice and Conor Cregan had their cases adjourned until November 2004.
Shannon District Court is now being held in Ennis and apparently will continue here for the foreseeable future. No more Tullyvarga Hall, with its appalling acoustics, noisy floors strewn with random bits of carpet to muffle sound, and its walls adorned with cartoons of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, the Red Hand of Ulster, and the Statue of Liberty alongside Goofey.
The charges against Eoin and Conor date from the 6th. December 2003.
Judge Mangan presided,Inspector Gallagher was prosecuting and Eoin and Conor represented themselves.
Eoin pointed out that he had been wrongfully imprisoned on 12th, February 2004 and had had to take the matter to the High Court. He had been unlawfully detained in Tulla on 26th.June 2003, and on 16th. March 2004. Furthermore, in Tulla court on 6th. December 2003 he had been denied legal representation. He said that contrary to normal legal practice where it is up to the prosecution to prove that a person is guilty, in his case there was a reversal of roles and that the burden of proof had been placed on the defendant.
Inspector Gallagher, who has refined being vague down to a fine art, admitted there were 'some matters' with the High Court and that there was an application for a judicial review.
Eoin said that was not his application for today.
Judge Mangan asked Inspector Gallagher when could a High court decision be expected. Gallagher said that he was not sure that Eoin was persuing the matter. Eoin assured the court that all these matters would be persued. Judge Mangan then asked Inspector Gallagher to let him see the documentation received in the matter. Mangan asked Eoin what his application for today was.
Eoin asked that in the interest of the impartial administration of the law, and that justice be done and be seen to be done, that judge Mnagan would recuse (step down) himself fron the case.
In reply Judge Mangan said that as the judicial review was going ahead that Eoin could make application to the High Court to excuse him, Mangan, from the case.
Eoin requested that the case come up for mention in November. Inspector Gallagher objected to this and said that Inspector Kennedy wanted the case to be heard in June. Mangan refused this request and Eoin was remanded on bail till the 11th. November to Shannon District Court.
Conor Cregan had made a complaint to the Garda Complaints Board about his arrest on public order offences. Inspector Gallagher asked that he come before the court in June. Conor pointed out that all witnesses had not been interviewed and requested that these omissions be investigated. Inspector Gallagher said that all garda statements and notes requested by Conor had been provided by the state. Inspector Gallagher denied that any statements were missing from the Garry Doyle Order issued to Conor. Conor was remanded on bail until 18th. November for mention. Conor stated that he would be calling two gardai as witnesses. Mangan asked him if he knew how to go about getting summonses and that the court clerk would help him if required.
Conor then told the judge that he didn't know why the DPP was going ahead with this case against him and that he was miffed over it, to which Mangan replied,'Maybe I'll be equally miffed when I hear it.'
On 20th.May, Nuria Mustafa and John Dunne appeared in Shannon District Court (in Ennis Courthouse) for the sixth time in relation to charges arising out of their arrest on traffic obstruction charges on the 21st. June 2003.
Their solicitor, John Devane, was not present and had sent his apologies to the court. The presiding judge was Judge McBride.
As Nuria and John had requested that judge Mangan recuse himself from the case at a previous hearing they considered going ahead with the case in his absence.
Judge Mc Bride was not impressed when they said they were pleading not guilty. He deemed the charges against them to be of a very serious nature 'extremely serious wilful obstruction' and that they would need legal representation. He could not order them but he could strongly advise them, given the gravity of the case, to wait until they had legal representation.
They decided not to go ahead with the case and it was adjourned until 10th.June to Shannon District Court (sitting in Ennis!)