Eoin Rice in High Court

Eoin Rice is a well known anti-war campaigner who has been arrested on a number of occasions. In Galway he was subsequently beaten in the police station by members of the secret police (Special Branch), one of whom stood on his neck.

This court case arises out of his arrest on the morning of Dec 6th 2003 for alleged dangerous driving. Eoin had spent the previous weeks touring the country organising for a blockade of the airport that was to take place that afternoon. His arrest and detention for the day prevented him attending that blockade.

After going public about the beating he had received at the hands of the secret police Eoin had a second court hearing on Feb 12 arising from Dec 6th. At this the Judge Mangan tried to change his bail conditions (5 Euro bond) to include a ban from the entire of Co. Clare. Eoin refused to accept these conditions and has been in Limerick prison since, where he is on hunger strike.

National protests Feb 28 in solidarity with Eoin

Dublin. Meet at the Halfpenny Bridge, from 2 - 4pm.
Limerick. Vigil at Limerick prison, 3pm onwards
Galway. Stall at Shop Street, 10am - 12am.

Shannon airport protests

Court report

There were about 30 supporters at the four courts for Eoin's hearing. Most of them crammed into the benches of court 6 to hear the proceedings themselves, while a couple of brave and hardy souls stayed outside in the biting cold to hand out leaflets and tend to the large collection of homemade placards.

The hearing itself was a non-event. The judge surveyed the warrant and quickly came to the conclusion that he could not make a ruling in this case for legal reasons. I'm no legal expert but my understanding of the argument is this: Eoin's brief had issued proceedings of habeus corpus against the governor of Limerick prison. The judge stated that , since the warrant was in order, he was actually being asked for a judicial review and in that case it was counsel for the state / gardai who should have been present rather than counsel for the prison governor. He then said that he couldn't hear the case since the other side was missing.

The judge then asked Eoin's barrister for his argument and was met with an embarressed silence. I have never seen a barrister struck dumb like that before. He reminded me of a schoolchild who had failed to learn his homework. Eventually he meekly agreed to the judge's finding.

The judge informed the court that since the warrant was in order, he would not make a ruling on the application to release Eoin and advised the barrister that he should follow the normal procedure and submit an application for judicial review to the court in Clover Hill on Monday. The whole thing took no more than 5 minutes.

Eoin, who was looking thin and jaundiced after a spell without food was then shackled in a type of extra-restricive handcuffs (where the hands are joined by a solid metal bar rather than a flexible chain). He was led out of the court by a garda and the crowd of supporters followed him.

As we left the courtroom the supporters spontaneously started clapping and followed him throught the corridors of the court intensifying the clapping as they went. By the time we got to the lobby of the building the noise levels were intense and the clapping was kept up until after Eoin was led up a stairway and out of our sight. There were a few cries of 'No Justice here" and "Anti-war activist on hunger strike" as the various gardai and security people looked on in amazement at the cheek, but there were too many people for them to even attempt to stop it. Once the clapping and shouts died down we all moved out on to the road for some photos and discussion.

There were a few rumours running around outside that he would be able to get his case heard tomorrow, but they are as yet just rumourts. All in all, it seems that this was a bit of a cock up on the part of the legal team, but it was still a good show of support by anti-war activists. There were people present from many of the anti-war groups around the country, many of whom had travelled to Dublin especially for this case.


Useful links

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

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