Report from High court bin tax hearing

24 Sept 2003


Judge refuses city council's application for blanket injunction

Just back from the high court where 12 named protestors were injuncted for blockading bin trucks. Although I wasn't in the courtroom myself, I did talk to several people who had been inside and their interpretation of events was uniform. The 12 undertook not to do the same again and the judge ruled that they had purged their contempt. The city council also sought to make their injunction permanent against blockading. Surprisingly the judge turned this down.

There was an extremely noisy protest outside the four courts, some 40-50 people held banners and placards which elicited a cacophony of horns from passing motorists. Judging from the noise, the campaign is more popular than ever; on several occasions I was forced to retreat inside the courthouse to continue converstations with people, you simply couldn't hear anything outside.

The city campaign was fully expecting that the judge would grant the council's application for a blanket injunction against people blockading trucks, but surprisingly judge Donovan refused, saying that the police cannot be 'judge and jury'. This is a great victory for the campaign. It means that the police can't arrest people on blockades, all they can do is take names and seek to injunct those named people to the high court. The implications of this decision are enormous. It represents the first time that the state has backed down in its attack on the bin tax campaign. It means that campaigners can continue to block trucks without fear of immediate arrest; it means that any further legal action against campaigners will require another high-court hearing, which could very quickly clog up the legal system.

Also, this morning we saw environment minister Cullen saying that all charges should be weight related, the first sign of the government backing down from their all out assault against the campaign. They have blinked, time for us to press ahead while they are on the back foot.

The protestors arrested yesterday in Fingal for contravening the blanket injunction that the state granted to Fingal county council last Wednesday are currently before the high court. Their cases have been adjourned until 2pm. Watch this space....

by Chekov - WSM & anti-bin tax campaign

*NOTE: I am not a legal expert, so I could be mistaken in the implications of this ruling. If so could somebody please point it out.

Update

Just back from the high court again and it appears that my above summary of the high court judgement is slightly inaccurate.

The judge did grant the injunction. He refused to grant an attachment which would have given the Gardai the power to arrest people on blockades (this was granted to Fingal CC). The practical effect of this is exactly as outlined above - the guards can only take names on blockades and then injunct people to the high court (accepting conor's proviso on indymedia that they can always use the public order act - aka the 'everything is illegal' act).

The lawyer for the defence in the case of the Fingal activists is currently arguing that, given the judgement this morning refusing the attachment to Dublin city council, the earlier attachment granted to Fingal CC is erroneous and should not be allowed to stand.

 

More on the Bin Tax

This report was first posted to Indymedia.ie


[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]

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