I was there to witness what might happen to the four may day 2004 defendants that were up in front of the judge today,.
The court began to fill up fairly rapidly and it was crammed by the time the Judge herself appeared. A young fresh faced cop snapped his fingers glared viciously at a young Portuguese couple who were very nervous and hadn't risen when the Judge appeared in the court.
One of the mayday defendants informed me that the state was going to introduce 52 x 3hr video tapes as evidence against him. The boys in blue were also going to look for more money in order to go though the tapes. 156 hours video footage and four defendants before the court today on public order charges arising from the incidents at the Ashtown roundabout on the 'night in question.' I am no legal expert but I should imagine that the majority of this footage is inadmissible given that it will not feature any of the defendants.
The legal counsel (legal aid) had said that two other mayday defendants had pleaded guilty rather than go though the whole rig-ma-role of getting their cases heard. I got the impression that she would rather everyone pleads guilty and we could all go home and 'have done with it.' That again is only a personal opinion.
The mayday cases were not heard until very near the end of the first calling. Before that we had the usual parade of cases against property which the district court usually concerns itself with. Some woman was up on charges of helping herself to 153 Euro of Tesco's goods in a fit of proletarian shopping. Some guy called Maxim was in court for some charge but appeared to have two names and thus took on the glamorous appearance of being an international criminal. About 6 bench warrants were issued for people who hadn't bothered to turn up for their big day in court 46. Only one case was actually dealt with whilst most of them were put forward for another date.
When the cases of four mayday cases were heard by the Judge she decided that a time period of six months would be sufficient to view the video evidence. So all the cases have been referred back to the same court for hearing on the 21st March 2005. In the meantime all of the defendants have to continue to sign on in the local cop shops. The state doesn't appeared to want to bother preparing a case, instead the tactic appears to bombard the lads with evidence in the hope that they will not bother protesting their innocence, and instead enter a plea. This is very typical in cases like this which are overly political, they drag on the proceedings so as to make the defendants life a misery, and inevitably when the case is finally heard there is nothing to answer for.
Video evidence will show cops beating people up whilst they shout 'Peaceful protest' and are getting doused with water from a cannon. Everyone should go and see our justice system in action, it appears to punish those who are presumed guilty, before sentence is passed, especially anyone who had the courage to stand up to the state and go on a 'banned march.' Now we can all look forward to 156 hour security forces cut of those days events.
This article was first posted to indymedia.ie where you can read and make comments on it. http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=66590
[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]