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Freedom from injustice

category national | summit mobilisations | news report author Wednesday November 10, 2004 17:38author by m Report this post to the editors

english activists cleared

7 months later....

polly and joe, the two english activists who were charged with trespass, and other imiganary charges have had their case dismissed,
freedom at last.............
passports returned!!!
enjoy your escape....

author by xwxpublication date Wed Nov 10, 2004 19:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thanks to the gardaí bonds have been strenghtened with our British counter-parts, well done to P and J.
See y'all in scotland 2005.

Related Link: http://www.dissent.org.uk/
author by Chekovpublication date Wed Nov 10, 2004 22:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For those who haven't been following the case, here are the details to date. A few days before Mayday, 2 protestors from the UK, Polly and Joe, were arrested in the vicinity of a derelict building under suspicion of trespass. They were initially denied bail and and kept in jail for a week. When they were granted bail, stringent conditions were attached requiring them to surrender their passports and sign on in a police station once a week. Seven months later, during which time Polly has been legally prevented from returning home to London, their case was finally heard today.

Over 30 supporters showed up to accompany Polly and Joe to court, including a dozen or so who had travelled over from the UK. The supporters took up the entire public seating area of court 46 at the bridewell. Two gardai gave evidence against them, recounting how they had seen people running from a building on 41 Lower Lesson St into Lesson Close and had apprehended them a few minutes later and recognised the accused as those who they had seen leaving the building.

The strength of the guards' evidence was somewhat undermined by the fact that the first guard had seen 4 people leaving the house, the second guard was sure there were 3, even after listening to the first guard's evidence. It was an impressive feat to be able to identify the suspects so assuredly when they could not even count how many people were present.

Under cross examination from defence counsel dara robinson, their case was further weakened when the first guard appeared to be unaware of the fact that he needed a legal power to enter the house and could not name the power under which he had done so, even after being presented with the list of possible powers by the judge and counsel.

The two brief statements from the guards were the sum total of evidence presented by the state. Dara Robinson then pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever against the accused for trespass. The owner of the property was not present, nor was there any statement from him declaring that the accused were indeed tresspassing and had not been there by invitation. The judge dismissed Polly's case which was greeted by a loud round of applause from the public gallery. The judge was not amused and declared that this court was not intended to "provide entertainment" and that anybody who remained in the court was under obligation to remain quiet and anybody who would not obey should leave now. Having to get back to work, a couple of us took her offer and left. A short while later the charges against Joe were similarly dismissed and another round of applause followed.

A week in jail and seven months exile for a crime that the police had "no evidence" for (to quote the judge). Justice, don't you love it.

author by gramsci fan - DGNpublication date Wed Nov 10, 2004 23:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I counted 35 supporters present at one point during the hearing. People had travelled from abroad and taken time off work to support the case.

The defence lawyer (Dara Robinson) was good and far better prepared than the gardai, despite the fact that the latter apparently have the job of acting both as prosecutors and witnesses at this level (District Court). Some examples:

- At one point the Guards claimed that Joe had refused for a long time to give his address; under cross-examination they had to admit that he must have done so within 6 minutes of being asked (initially he had had no address within the state to offer);

- Although the charge (of possession of objects which could have been used to commit an offence) carries up to 5 years (that's right, boys and girls - Public Order Act, you have to love it!), no attempt had been made to have any forensic work carried out on the objects in question (some of which are on widespread retail sale, such as spray cans).

After all the fuss about the plans to burn down Dublin on Mayday, bring anarchist armies across the water and gas Bertie, this is what it boils down to - a handful of trivial public order offences (mostly being given probation and so no criminal record) and a couple of "weightier" charges (trespass and possession of objects) which get thrown out for lack of evidence.

The judge observed that the prosecution (ie the Guards) had offered no evidence whatsoever of the normal use of the objects in question (stencils, spraycans and nozzles), nor of any intent to use them in illegal ways. As she said, "Graffiti can be used on your own bedroom wall" - or come to that within e.g. the Indymedia centre.

From one point of view, it's bizarre to see the whole security panic and mass deployment of police, militarisation of Dublin etc. resolve itself into such a lack of preparedness to actually make their case in court, even for the tiny handful of cases that were actually brought.

From another point of view, all of this costs the movement time and energy (willingly spent!), keeping people busy and taking away from their ability to be doing anything more creative. Which is maybe precisely the point.

author by Acidpublication date Thu Nov 11, 2004 00:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

an inspector (I'm presuming from his gun) was also present in the room. Same bloke who showed up at disco disco. He was also present at maydays critical mass. He had nothing to do with the case. Just showed up to give moral support for his boyos I guess.

author by .. - ...publication date Thu Nov 11, 2004 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

He's actually a detective sergeant.. I checked his name at a previous court case but can't remember it now, will see if i can dig it up

author by Starstruck - DGNpublication date Thu Nov 11, 2004 21:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As an activist whos had the privilege of studying the law in depth i just cant get over the sheer inefficiency and procrastination (oh yea) of the legal system,particularly in Ireland and the U.K.
The level of evidence against Polly and Joe here was clearly minimal to say the least and thus the cops and judiciary made it as difficult as possible for the case to be resolved speedily.
Its endemic of the Irish legal system and is something they put down to "backlogging".
Congrats Polly and Joe.Safe home.
The struggle continues.

author by Markpublication date Fri Nov 12, 2004 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The trial of Polly Murphy and Joe Girardi on the 10th November 2004 at the Four Courts in Dublin ended with all charges being dismissed, and the Gardai scuttleing away with their tales between their legs.
In Ireland it is illegal to squat but it is also illegal to be homeless; this is criminalisation of the poor.
The trial of Polly Murphy and Joe Girardi at the Four Courts in Dublin on the 10th November 2004 was the continuation by the State and Gardai to criminalise and victimise those that stood up to show their resistance in May of the expanding Europe of control and inequalities. Both Polly and Joe were imprisoned for 8 days during Mayday and were forced, due to their bail conditions to remain in Dublin separated from friends and families. They were made victims of media sensationalism and made scapegoats by the State in an attempt to justify draconian and military tactics deployed during Mayday.
On Wednesday 10th November 2004 at 2pm in Court 46 all the charges against Polly and Joe were thrown out by the Judge. The belligerent and oppressive Gardai failed to make any of their charges stick. They were ridiculed in the witness box for having no evidence whatsoever and no idea as to what laws they had been acting under.
Thirty people were arrested during Mayday, many of whom still have to sign on at police stations and many of whom are still being dragged through the courts. These are extreme control tactics. Because of this system and oppression many people are frightened to stand up and plead not guilty. They are being bullied by the Gardai to plead guilty to make it easier on themselves. All Mayday related charges should be dropped now! Wednesday’s farcical trial of Polly and Joe is an example of the amazing support that is there for victims of state oppression. 60 people cheered from the public gallery as Polly and Joe walked free and the Gardai scuttled away with their tales between their legs.
Only a short distance away in another court a Gardai was standing trial accused of assaulting people with his baton at the 2002 Reclaim the Streets. Together we can expose the lies, brutality and corruption which seek to support the state and we can take victory from them in their own yard.


author by Trampolinepublication date Fri Nov 12, 2004 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Garda who is on trial for assault during the Mayday protest of 2002 in Dublin has admitted using excessive force on one protestor.

Donal Corcoran also said he regretted causing injury to Brian Hayden with his baton.

During the protest Mr Hayden was struck on the head, neck and arm and needed eight stitches.

Today at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Garda Corcoran admitted using excessive force but said he believed Mr Hayden was about to strike one of his colleagues.

The garda said he intended to bring the baton down on Mr Hayden's arm, but accepts that instead he hit him on the head.

Garda Corcoran said that at all times gardaí were acting in self defence, trying to restore order where lawlessness was rife.

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/1112/mayday.html
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