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On 21st April 2010 I was convicted of assaulting a number of Gardaí in relation to Shell to Sea protests and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. Remission for good behaviour means that prisoners will have their sentences reduced by a quarter, once you keep your nose clean. I was given credit for 2 weeks time served previously in 2009, before I was bailed out pending my appeal.
So I spent 4 months in jail from April to August in the summer of 2010.
Barrister Leo Mulrooney to ex-Sgt James Gill: “Complete the now well-known phrase 'Give me your name and address or I'll...' “
Last Friday saw retired Sgt James Gill awarded €33,000 plus legal costs by Judge Margaret Heneghan for a defamation case that he took against prominent Shell to Sea campaigner Pat O'Donnell. Mr Gill claimed that Mr O'Donnell accused him at a protest at Bellanaboy on November 3rd 2006, while other protesters and gardaí were in the area, of stealing diesel and smuggling tyres across the border. Mr O'Donnell denied saying those comments to Gill but the Judge believe the word of Gill and made the award.
James Gill is the Garda Sergeant that made the infamous comment “Give me your name and address or I'll rape you” which was recorded last March 31st (https://www.indymedia.ie/../article/99445)
However James Gill is also the Garda with probably the longest and most involved history of any of the Gardaí that have policed the Corrib Gas Project. He sat on the Shell's Project Monitoring Committee for 5 years, his brother's scaffolding firm AGS was employed by Shell and I have personally witnessed him viciously assault campaigners on a number of occasions. I wish that I didn't feel the need to write this negative article about a Garda who doesn't police for Shell anymore, but that thisman's good name was valued at €33,000 is an absolute disgrace.
What happened in Court
Last Wednesday saw the hearing of the case. In the case Mr Gill claimed that Mr O'Donnell had accused him of being a thief but this was denied by Mr O'Donnell. Mr O'Donnell said that on the morning in question he had engaged in banter with other protesters and had referenced diesel which had been stolen from him previously in 97 or 98. Mr O'Donnell claimed that he had said that it's easier for people to steal diesel because all the Gardaí were up protecting Shell. He also said that he had said that the Gardaí uphold the law one day and break it the next, referring to the fact that the Gardaí were being well-behaved that day as there was politicians present but that other days they would beat up the protestors. Mr O'Donnell denied that any of this was directed at Mr Gill specifically.
In evidence Mr Gill stated that after Mr O'Donnell had made the comments that other protesters began making similar comments and that this has caused him a lot of stress. He felt that his credibility had been undermined, and that the comments would “sully his reputation” and felt it would hurt his children,“if their father was named a thief”. He stated that a gastric ulcer which he had had previously had been exasperated as a result of the comments and that he ended up with symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder.
Under cross-examination from Mr O'Donnell barrister Leo Mulrooney, Mr Gill stated that this defamation case was not about money, that it was about his reputation. Twice in his cross-examination Mr Mulrooney attempted to introduce element of the infamous 'rape-tape', of which Mr Gill was the main player. First of all Mr Mulrooney attempted to ask Mr Gillif he had ever had discussions with other Gardaí on how to present evidence in court. This was a rather obscure reference to the 'rape-tape', which only someone who had listened to the 'rape-tape' would have seen where it was going. However obviously Judge Heneghan had done her homework, immediately shutting down that line of questioning saying that only relevant matters were to be discussed.
For his second attempt later on, Mr Mulrooney tried a more direct approach asking Mr Gill to complete the well-known phrase 'Give me your name and address or I'll...' “. However Mr Gill feigned ignorance and in a most blatant lie stated that he didn't know what Mr Mulrooney was talking about. Mr Mulrooney then asked if Mr Gill was serious that he didn't know what was being spoken about seeing as it had been front page news for a week and had been raised in the Dáil a number of times. At this Mr Gill's barrister Seamus Ruane jumped to his feet objecting, stating that if Mr Mulrooney was referring to the events of the 31stof March then they had no relevance to the case that was being tried. Mr Mulrooney argued that the subject being spoken about was of absolute relevance in ascertaining Mr Gill's good reputation.
Friday 25th November saw over 5 hours of Shell's peat and stone haulage completely blocked by campaigners, and no arrests were made. First thing in the morning four campaigners had trucks blocked for over an hour and a half, and later on one person climbed on top of a peat truck outside Shell's Bellanaboy refinery, remaining there for 3 and a half hours stopping all haulage.
Fri 30 Sep, 00:30
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