Posts Tagged ‘Animal Rights’

The Irish State doesn’t like dissent. That’s obvious now, more than ever. When we see images of gardaí, in riot gear, beating kids who are sitting down and protesting peacefully, even if Irish television waits a week to show it, one cannot but help see the obvious. If you’re not happy, keep it to yourself.

Now that the State is finally near the melting point, the gardaí et al have become more open in their fascist mission. They’re not so bothered any more if the public at large sees that they’re really only a group, mostly of thugs who have had their dubious skills put to use rather than have them sign on for the dole.

Always gather the evidence

I’ve been working with a particular group of dissenters for close to two years now. Arrest after arrest, court case after court case and it becomes easy to study the State’s methodology. It becomes easy to defeat. After all, they’re a bunch of fucking eejits that have been using the same methods forever and expecting them to continue to work forever. Admittedly some of these methods are not as obvious as beating the rights out of people, not that that hasn’t happened here too, it has! For the most part all these methods boil down to one or two single purposes. The first being to dissuade new activists from taking to the streets, and the second, to destroy individual activists with multiple arrests and subsequent convictions – “death by a thousand cuts.” The first purpose is pretty much realised by having the newbies witness what happens to the others. The Public Order Act is the main tool used, and even then, I’ve yet to meet a single garda who begins to understand it. Many judges and officers of the DPP are pretty clueless too. And I’m being generous when I use the word “clueless” as the alternative is insidious and requires wilfulness.

Having seen what the State was up to with the likes of Shell To Sea, the Tara activists, the Shannon peace activists and a multitude of others, it was a rare pleasure to come across A-Liberation and be asked to work with them, to study and destroy the State’s campaign against them. A-Liberation are a group of animal rights activists. Animal rights activists are generally a prime target for shutting down and practicing on. They’re on the fringe of activism and thus have less of a support network than more “mainstream” activists. Most activism has to do with human rights of one type or another. Most mainstream activists would suggest to the animal rights activists that one cannot expect to win rights for “non-human animals” when rights for human animals are only paid lip service to. It’s not that the animal rights activists don’t get this, believe me, they do, it’s simply that they see the non-human animal kingdom as needing a voice and a caring helping hand. A-Liberation most certainly recognise that human rights are merely a paint job that fools the masses and facilitates abusers sleeping at night. This particular group has been suffering human rights abuses for as long as I’ve known them. And they’ve met these abuses head on. They’re not going to leave the streets any time soon and have made a habit of making fools of the gardaí in the courts, in front of judges, who for the most part have shown them nothing but contempt.

The latest exposure happened just a couple of weeks back.

On Tuesday 23rd of November, Agnieszka Chojnacka walked calmly and purposefully into the Circuit Court at the new facility in Dublin’s Parkgate Street. She was appealing a conviction handed down to her by the brother of Noel Dempsey TD. Dempsey J. a short, self-important little creep, had shut down Aga’s defence during her trial in the District Court, when she was fighting charges of: Obstructing an officer in the course of his duty (Section 19 of the Public Order Act) and failure to provide her name and address to the very same gimp (Section 24 of the Public Order Act). The Section 19 charge was easily defeated as it was obviously a work of pathetic fiction. However, the demand for details was not so easily defeated, via legal argument anyway. If one counted the fact that Aga was not told specifically that failure to provide details constituted a criminal offence, then there was a surefire technicality to see this bullshit charge tossed too. Dempsey wanted to hear none of this and instead amused himself by abusing the defendant and her witnesses. Who needs justice when you can get away with threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour (Section 6 of the Public Order Act).

Anyway, the argument that Aga wanted to advance in her defence was that Sergeant Tallon, the arresting goon, didn’t have a reasonable suspicion to facilitate a demand for her details in the first place. Dempsey was hearing none of it. He wouldn’t allow the young woman to play her audio recording of her encounter with Tallon and he couldn’t be bothered to give a reason as to why. Question after question that was put to the Sergeant didn’t have to be answered according to the minister’s brother, a former small town and tiny minded solicitor. For a finish he convicted her of the Section 24 charge and fined her €500. To rub salt into wounds, the little judge heaped lavish praise upon the sergeant for his alleged patience. I’ll give a very thorough accounting of the sergeant’s actions in this work and folks can judge him for themselves. Aga initiated the appeal before leaving the Court building. She wasn’t intimidated by the Judge or the conviction, she knew that she’d done nothing wrong and she was confident in her ability to prove it.

Shortly after this conviction Aga annihilated another set of false charges against her, read about this *HERE*. These two sets of charges are the only sets of charges ever to have been brought against this woman. Between the first two court cases and this appeal, the dirty tricks brigade did their utmost to make life difficult for the confident activist. Shortly after teaching one Garda Reilly a trick or two on the Stand and destroying the false accusations she’d dared to bring into the Court, various members of Aga’s family in Poland, including her mother, were visited by Interpol. This didn’t put her off though. If anything, it made her more determined to clear her name.

Before I continue I want to do a little biography on Sergeant Tallon:

Fergal Leddy received blows from a baton to the back of the head and shoulder. This happened during the ill-fated Reclaim The Streets protest in Dublin on May 6th 2002. Garda Paul Tallon was accused of being the garda who assaulted Fergal. Tallon’s first trial collapsed when the jury, after some 4 hours of deliberation, failed to reach a majority verdict – this was in 2004, more than 2 years after the assault on Mr Leddy. In 2005 Tallon was cleared by another jury of the Assault. He was 31 at the time. Tallon was one of a number of gardaí that day that earned notoriety with activists. Many gardaí had removed shoulder numbers, others were not in uniform and most of them disgraced themselves. Indymedia.ie made a name for itself as a very serious news organisation when pictures, videos and accounts began to appear.

When the Garda Complaints Board began to investigate its own thugs, witnesses were given a follow up visit by garda friends of the gardaí allegedly being investigated. This particular disgrace was later cited as being one of the reasons for the formation of the paint job, known as the “Garda Ombudsman.”

Interestingly too, Tallon’s current superintendent is none other than Joe Gannon. Gannon disgraced himself spectacularly in Mayo when he allowed heavy machinery to be driven onto private property and through a large group of protesters. Gannon was in charge of the garda thugs sent to Mayo to beat the rights out of Shell To Sea. For his gallant actions, including the re-writing of Irish law, where the power of arrest was removed from the Public Order Act, Gannon was put in charge in Pearse St. Garda Station upon his return to Dublin.

Now let me describe the events that took two court cases to expose. Let me describe what the video and audio evidence proves. Two court cases to expose what would take 5 minutes to prove to anyone else who cared to examine the evidence. In fairness, one representative of the DPP offered to examine the evidence and withdraw the case if it showed what we said that it showed. I don’t know whether she bothered to examine the evidence or not, the case most certainly didn’t disappear. She did, mind you.

On Saturday, August 29th of 2009, A-Liberation held their weekly protest outside Barnados Furriers on Lower Grafton Street in Dublin. The vegan activists had known Tallon for some time at this point and he was currently hanging around behind the protesters with Garda Kearns. Being well used to garda attempts to fit them up, the activists had taken to using video cameras and voice recorders to ensure that garda lies would be exposed in any court case brought against them.

Edmund Long, a veteran campaigner, had spotted Tallon in the reflection of the shop window, acting suspiciously, and shortly afterwards he filmed him and Kearns chatting with a homeless gentleman and sharing a laugh. The Sergeant later testified, on both occasions, that he’d taken no complaints prior to approaching Ed and the group.

The shop began to close up. The shutter over the main entrance opened briefly to admit the homeless gentleman, they must have spotted him on their own video equipment from inside the shop. As the homeless gentleman emerged from the shop, he thrust his crotch forward and grabbed his neck in a mocking and insulting gesture towards the activists. He ignored the fact that Ms Bartolome was filming him, he passed her by and made his way over to Mr Long who was also filming him. He slapped Mr Long’s camera, turning it off and started to give out to the activist, demanding not to be filmed and other incoherent nonsense. After a short while the homeless gentleman was pulled away by a friend of his. A few seconds after this, Tallon arrived in front of Ed and began to accuse him of violating the homeless man’s constitutional rights. Ed just stared at Tallon and said nothing.

Of interest here is the fact that Tallon testified, that he had not seen the homeless man make the gestures he made as he exited the shop. Add to this that it was a busy Saturday on Lower Grafton Street, close to 5.30pm (as Tallon said in evidence) it is hard to know how Tallon could have heard what transpired between Ed and the homeless man. Tallon was unable to tell the appeal Court how it was that he knew what had been said.

Gloria Bartolome who’d been filming continued to film and positioned herself closer to Tallon and Ed, so that her camera might capture what was being said. Tallon eventually noticed her and told her to move back, which she did. The homeless man, immediately jumped between her and Tallon and began to push her back. It’s interesting to note at this point that the homeless gentleman didn’t seem to mind being filmed by Ms Bartolome as he jumped left and right, to frustrate the activist’s attempt to film what was going on between Tallon and Ed. Just then, garda Kearns returned from a brief sojourn he’d taken towards Upper Grafton St. Tallon placed his hand on the homeless gentleman’s shoulder and told him that he’d take care of it. And take care of it he did, he gestured to Garda Kearns to take over from the homeless man. Kearns ordered Ms Bartolome to step back and he accused her of obstructing the sergeant in the course of his duty. Ms Bartolome moved back, again, and attempted to continue filming. At this point, Kearns directed Ms Bartolome to leave the area under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. Ms Bartolome, fearing arrest and the destruction or loss of her video evidence, reluctantly left the scene, telling Kearns that she knew her rights.

As the video evidence shows, and more so Aga’s audio evidence, the young lady up until this point, had continued her protest and then had engaged in a friendly chat about animal rights with a member of the public.

When the homeless man had been jumping around, in his bid to prevent Ms Bartolome from filming, he’d jumped to his left and had crashed into Ms Chojnacka who didn’t react in any way, physically or verbally. She was well used to this gentleman abusing the activists in front of the gardaí. He’d even issued death threats in front of them, against Ed, on camera, on the odd occasion or two.

Shortly after Ms Bartolome left the scene with her valuable evidence, the sergeant called the homeless man over, to tell Ed not to film him. He immediately started to shout about his alleged hatred of being filmed. It was at this point that Aga made her one and only contribution to the sorry saga. She simply informed the homeless man that he was in a public place. Immediately after this, Tallon turned around, pushed her backwards and told her to step back. “Babyface,” garda Kearns, immediately went over to Aga to inform her that nobody had pushed her and that she should step back, as what was going on, had nothing whatsoever to do with her. Aga moved well back and waited for Tallon to finish with Ed, so that they could go home.

Tallon finally finished abusing and talking shite to Mr Long and after getting the details that he probably knew by heart at this stage (he’d previously arrested and prosecuted Ed twice), he directed the patient activist to leave the area under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. Immediately after this, he stalked over to Agnieszka and demanded her details.

The young woman told the goon that she’d no problems with giving her details after he told her why he thought he was entitled to them. The sergeant informed her that she’d engaged in threatening and abusive behaviour (Section 6 of the Public Order Act). The activist then asked if someone had made a complaint about her. The sergeant didn’t bother to answer and continued to demand details. When she didn’t answer fast enough the sergeant arrested her, to the absolute outrage of bystanders who’d gathered to watch the debacle. Two of them approached the sergeant, the first a male who told the sergeant that he’d never seen anything like this in his life (he later told the remaining activists that he was a policeman in the UK) and second, a woman who asked the sergeant if he wanted to arrest her too as she’d also done nothing wrong. The sergeant fobbed both the witnesses off by telling them to go to Pearse Street. He then put the young woman in the unmarked car and took her to Harcourt Terrace Garda Station. Thus we were never able to secure the testimonies of either of these two witnesses. Good thing that Tom McSherry, the roving camera operator got it all on video and that Aga got it on audio. It had been Tom’s job that day to forgo his right to protest and instead film the protest from afar and to film from less far, in the event of an event. A job he did to perfection.

At the station, Aga was searched by a female officer and her handbag, which is clearly shown in the video evidence at the time of her arrest was handed back out to Tallon. This is Aga’s version of what happened and it’s borne out by the fact that there is no record of this handbag in the garda custody record. During the first trial, Tallon sidestepped responsibility for this omission by blaming his fellow officers, he claimed that handing in evidence to the custody officer wasn’t his responsibility and that someone else had failed in their duty. Aga claims that her phone, which was in the bag, had been interfered with and that one of the numbers in the phone’s memory had been dialled. She didn’t bother to go into this during the appeal as the Herald had already publicised it after the first trial: http://www.herald.ie/national-news/city-news/antifur-protester-is-fined-8364500-over-row-outside-shop-2086727.html

Now that I’ve pointed to the Herald article by Andrew Phelan, I might as well point out that the appeal referred to by it refers to an appeal that Ed later took against a conviction secured by Tallon against him. Ed made bits of Tallon and the DPP in this appeal and it’s a tale I intend to go into in great detail at a later date.

Now, let’s look at the appeal.

The young accountant dressed in a smart brown suit. To look at her you’d not think she’d say boo to a ghost. She looks the perfect victim. To see her as a victim, timid or afraid to fight her corner, is to underestimate this remarkable woman on a massive scale. The appeal hearing began at noon. The traditional time for a showdown. Tallon took the stand immediately, his swaggering and confident gait an offence to those of us who knew the truth. He maintained this air of confidence through his examination by Mr Henry, “the Penguin” as we’d long since named him. Mr Henry finished with the sergeant by asking him if he remembered listening to Aga’s audio evidence during the previous trial and hearing how many times he’d demanded Aga’s details. Aga and I, her McKenzie Friend, exchanged glances at this point. It was important. It was important for two reasons. The first being that it would now be easy for Aga to introduce her audio evidence, considering that the Penguin and the sergeant both remembered it from the first trial. The second reason it stood out was of course that it had not been played during the first trial. Judge Dempsy in his infinite capacity to disable a defence, had not allowed it to be played – it was for this reason and this reason alone, that Aga had decided not to take the stand herself – myself and Dempsey had had a bit of an argument about this. So at this unusual juncture, both Aga and myself would like to thank the Penguin for his help and to ask for his understanding as to why we didn’t get into this particular detail on the day – and of course to apologise for the various arsekickings that Aga delivered directly to him during the day’s proceedings – nothing personal dude! Good wholesome fun all the same!

Anyway, Tallon tried to maintain his arrogant composure during the cross-examination. He lost it in the first few minutes and took to staring at his hands which were joined together in front of him, face down. Question after question exposed his bullshit. He insisted that Aga had been told to move back on more than one occasion. This facilitated Aga in reading from his précis (summary of evidence) to him and then him having to admit that the précis did seem to indicate that she’d only been moved back on the one occasion (albeit it by Tallon pushing her and Babyface interceding and asking her to move back). The précis and Tallon claimed (in the first trial, not in the second, until Aga made a big deal of it) that the activist had obstructed the sergeant with a video camera. The DPP objected to this line of questioning considering that the obstruction charges were no more. It was at this point that Aga demonstrated how to efficiently butcher a penguin, which in itself was interesting considering that the young vegan abhors the meat trade. She told the judge that she was not trying to resurrect the obstruction charge. She said that even when the prima facie evidence in a case is shown to be flawed and the case dismissed, that the reasonable suspicion that facilitated the whole thing was expected to survive and that it was this alleged reasonable suspicion that she was getting at. The judge told her to carry on.

Tallon couldn’t explain how the more than three hours of video and audio footage, that the president of the District Court had ordered be handed over to the prosecution, long before the first trial, didn’t contain a single frame of Aga holding or using a video camera, or any reference to this figment of Tallon’s less than articulate imagination. Indeed, it had been our argument that Tallon was mistaking Aga for Ms Bartolome, the lady who’d been sent away for filming by Babyface. We’d argued this with the first DPP who was initially prosecuting. She agreed that if the video showed this that she’d withdraw the case. Of course the video shows exactly this and as I’ve said it was the initial DPP who disappeared, not the case. Anyhow this still made for some very powerful argument in court. You see Tallon says in his precis that Aga obstructs him with a camera and that Babyface moves her back because of this. In other words Babyface only moves Aga once and it’s for this imaginary camera incident. The video and audio evidence both show that Babyface only speaks to Aga on a single occasion, when she informs the homeless man that he’s in a public place.

Tallon couldn’t explain how it was that he could possibly know what the homeless man had been saying to Ed prior to his intervention. Tallon waffled on about coming between Mr Long and the homeless gentleman and hearing what was going on. It was a beautiful trap. Aga left the sergeant drone on about this before pointing out that is was bullshit, after all, the video evidence showed that the homeless man’s friend had dragged him away prior to the sergeant’s arrival.

Another important question from Aga established that Tallon had collected no evidence or testimony after Aga’s arrest. This was an important question for a number of reasons. Primarily it was aimed at showing the unreasonableness of the Threatening, Abusive and Insulting behaviour allegation (Section 6 of the Public Order Act) that Tallon had initially thrown at Aga. After all, Tallon had not bothered to charge Aga with this, and she was wondering why, considering that he’d gathered no evidence after the arrest to facilitate not bringing this charge. Tallon tried to get out of this bind by insisting that he’d meant the group of activists generally when he’d made this allegation. The fact that he’d previously stated that he’d neither seen anything unlawful nor taken a complaint prior to approaching Ed, and that he could give no example of a Section 6 offence after approaching Ed, didn’t make his story look very convincing. Secondly, Babyface, under cross examination by Aga (he’d been ordered to leave the court while Tallon was giving evidence) admitted that he’d prepared a statement and given it to Tallon after Aga’s arrest. On top of the contradiction he helpfully provided, the sergeant hadn’t bothered to give Aga a copy of this statement when he was initially ordered to provide her with a précis. Tut tut sergeant!

This article’s getting very long so I’ll leave off there with the cross examination of Tallon, needless to say, most of Aga’s questions contained a hidden kick in the arse, delivered deftly by the smiling lady each time Tallon wandered aimlessly into her various traps.

Babyface was a joy on the stand. He mostly told the truth. He couldn’t advance a reason as to why he ordered Ms Bartolome away after she had complied with his direction to move back. He admitted that neither himself nor Tallon had taken the homeless man’s details or given him any lawful directions, even after, as Aga pointed out, the video evidence showed that he couldn’t possibly have failed to notice that the homeless man was in the process of assaulting and obstructing Ms Bartolome when he intervened after Tallon had put his hand gently on the homeless man’s shoulder and told his wannabe assistant in a paternal tone that he’d deal with the matter. And deal with it he did, Babyface immediately sprung into action and Gloria was sent home.

Aga took the stand herself on this occasion. And she mastered the Penguin. He didn’t even bother to ask her any questions about her audio recording when she finished with her testimony and him (lucky for him).

When Aga came back from the stand she stood and told the judge that she’d finished with the defence and she offered the floor to the Penguin before she made her closing summation. The Penguin told the judge that he thought that the evidence spoke for itself. The judge looked at the Penguin incredulously for a while before agreeing with him. Aga went to stand again to deliver her closing argument. The judge told her that she didn’t need to bother and he granted her the appeal.

Her name is clear once again. Well done Aga! An epic battle. And goddamn entertaining too!

The Story In Pictures

Ed films Tallon, Babyface and the homeless man having a chat

Ed films homeless man leaving the gardaí and walking towards the shop

Ed films the homeless man leaving the shop and gesturing towards the activists

Glo films homeless man confronting Ed and hitting his camera

Glo films homeless man's friend pull him away prior to Tallon's arrival

Glo films Tallon arrive and he immediately begins to accuse/harass Ed

Glo films homeless man as he assaults her and obstructs her attempts to film Tallon and Ed (note that Tallon is watching this)

Tom films Babyface taking over the harassment of Glo from the homeless man - he directs her to leave the area

Tom films Babyface telling Aga that nobody has pushed her and asking her to move back (note that Aga doesn't have a video camera)

Tom films Tallon demanding Aga's details (note the handbag that Tallon fancied)

Tom films Tallon arresting Aga

Tom films English policeman(?) tell Tallon that he's never seen anything like this in his life

Tom films female bystander suggest that Tallon arrest her also as she's done nothing wrong too

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On 12/7/2009, Agnieszka Chojnacka was arrested on the Clontarf Road, outside Duffy’s circus, where she was engaged in a peaceful protest.

This case finally came to court on Wednesday, May 26th. In an incredible tour de force, the vegan animal rights activist, who defended herself, destroyed the State’s case, laying waste to the two gardaí, who took the stand to lie about her.

Agnieszka Chojnacka

Agnieszka Chojnacka, Aga to her friends, defended the right to hold beliefs, the right to communicate those beliefs to others and the right to do so in public, in Court 17 at Parkgate Street, on Wednesday the 26th of May.

Aga was charged with four separate offences:
1. Section 6 of the Public Order Act – Engaging in threatening, insulting or abusive behaviour.
2. Section 8 of the Public Order Act – Refusing or failing to leave an area after being given a lawful direction to do so.
3. Section 24 of the Public Order Act – Giving a false name and a false address.
4. Failing to show up at a hearing in violation of her bail conditions.

The first three charges were binned after the prosecution’s case and before Aga needed to start her defence, where witness testimony and video evidence would have shown beyond any doubt that the Garda Síochána had acted to shut down a peaceful protest, without so much as a shred of evidence to warrant it. Judge Blake in complying with Aga’s applications savaged Garda Marguerite Reilly of Clontarf Garda Station, for the general sloppiness of her prosecution and the lack of a case.

To be blunt, Garda Reilly makes a much better prosecutor than she does a garda.

Garda Reilly

The gardaí are sworn to uphold human rights and dignity. This is contained in the garda oath and in the Garda Síochána Act. Garda Reilly acted to strip human rights and trample dignity. The Garda Síochána should have no place for blatant fascism. That’s a very bold statement from me and I make no apologies for it whatsoever. Here’s what happened; this is what the video evidence shows:

On 12th July 2009, at approximately 2.00pm, the gardaí arrived at Clontarf Rd following a phone call from one Mark McFerran, the manager of Duffy’s circus. The first garda to arrive on the scene was a garda on a bicycle, shoulder no. J177. I shall refer to him as “the coward,” from here on in. Prior to the arrival of Garda Reilly and the garda who drove her to the scene, Garda Ward, the coward witnessed Aga shout the words: “Duffy’s circus,” twice. After this the two other gardaí pulled up in a car close to Aga’s position.

Immediately upon the arrival of the car, Mark McFerran stuck his head in the passenger-side window, handed a leaflet to Garda Reilly and engaged in a conversation with her. This leaflet contained propaganda about the protesters, it also contained an allegation that the protesters were abusing and threatening members of the public. Garda Reilly, testified that Mark McFerran did not make a complaint to her and that she didn’t make a record of any verbal complaint from the circus manager in her notebook.

The two gardaí then got out of the car. Garda Ward approached Mr Edmund Long, who was close to Aga and began to investigate the complaint that had brought the gardaí to the scene. This investigation began and ended with the Garda demanding Mr Long’s details.

Garda Reilly followed the circus manager away from Aga and the three protesters who were close to her. It is possible that Garda Reilly might have heard the following words before she began to abuse three Spanish ladies: “Please Boycott Duffy’s circus and any other animal circus.” These words were not uttered by the three Spanish ladies, they came from another lady who was situated close to them. In other words, Garda Reilly didn’t hear the Spanish ladies say anything to any member of the public. This did not stop Garda Reilly from accusing the three of “shouting and roaring at young kids” and of calling them “animal abusers.”

The belligerent Garda Reilly then made her way back down towards Aga and the others where she accused them of a public disturbance. At this point, she had not heard Aga speak at all. Reilly and Ward both testified that the activists were engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour from the moment they arrived – a very blatant fabrication. Reilly also approached the high fence that separated the protesters from the circus and members of the public where she spoke to one Stephanie Duffy, the wife of the circus owner. Aga tried to calm the situation down by asking Garda Reilly to observe her behaviour as she protested. Garda Reilly finally agreed to this and stepped back from Aga, still facing her, with her back to the circus. Aga then shouted the following: “Duffy’s circus is an animal abuser. Please, if you care about animals, don’t support this cruelty. They suffer. They suffer during the training, they suffer during the transportation, they spend their whole lives in cages or performing stupid tricks. All this cruelty, just to entertain you.” When Aga reached the word “cages,” Garda Reilly turned, approached Stephanie Duffy and spoke to her. Stephanie Duffy pointed towards Aga, and the Garda, like an obedient lap dog, immediately walked back over to Aga and threatened to arrest her, telling her that she’d have “no problem” in doing so.

At this time, Garda Ward came over to Aga, having done his bit for fascism with Mr Long. Mr Long had been directed to leave the area under Section 8 of the Public Order Act for engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, under Section 6 of the Act. Despite the fact that the gardaí had not witnessed Ed say anything whatsoever to any member of the public. Anyway, this garda demanded Aga’s details as part of his ‘investigation.’ And both he and Aga moved away from Garda Reilly and went to where Aga had stored her bag, so that she could identify herself to this rights abuser. When he had satisfied himself as to Aga’s identity and her address, he moved on to make demands on the three Spanish ladies, who’d said nothing whatsoever to any member of the public (indeed they faced the road and not the circus the whole time) in his or any other garda’s presence and who would continue to say nothing until the protest ended, immediately after Ms Chojnacka’s arrest. As he demanded details from the three ladies, who had very poor English, Ms Gloria Bartolome attempted to translate his demands into Spanish for the three. He ordered her away under Section 8 of the Public Order Act for interfering with him. The gardaí ended up not taking the details of the Spanish ladies, due to communications difficulties, it would seem.

Aga, in the meantime, had gone back to protesting, close to the coward, who offered a sarcastic counterpoint to the young lady by suggesting that the tigers and animals in the circus should be thrown out onto the road. Garda Reilly again approached Aga and began to abuse her. She stopped this abuse briefly to approach Gloria, to demand that she leave the area as she had been ordered. As she did so, she waved the rolled up piece of circus propaganda in the activist’s face. Gloria asked her to stop this, saying that it was intimidating and she agreed to leave the area. After telling the Garda that there was no need to be so rude, Gloria asked Garda Reilly if she might retrieve her jumper. Reilly told her to take all her “rubbish” with her and can be heard to giggle as the outraged activist leaves the area. She then returned to continue her abuse of Aga.

Aga walked away from the fuming and blustering garda in search of an activist with a camera to make sure the abuse she was putting up with was filmed. She first approached Mr Tom McSherry, a very calm man under pressure, who was being harassed by Garda Ward. Ward informed Aga that he was dealing with the gentleman and he told her not to interfere. Aga then approached Elin Bjerding, her friend and made sure that she was filming.

Garda Reilly repeatedly asked Aga if she was going to follow her lawful order, under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. Aga replied “yes.” And the Garda demanded that she leave immediately. Aga quite rightly refused to do so “no.” After all, the garda was not making a lawful demand. Aga repeatedly asked the garda to tell her what it was that she had done that facilitated the garda in making the demand under Section 8 of the Act. The garda failed to do so and simply continued to roar and shout at the calm activist, demanding that she leave.

Garda Reilly failed to tell Aga that refusal or failure to comply with a lawful direction of a garda was a criminal offence (extra to the Section 6 offence of threatening, insulting or abusive behaviour, that had been the substance of the complaint that brought the gardaí to the scene). The garda failed to inform Aga of the penalties associated with a Section 8 offence, should the activist be convicted of same. And the garda failed to inform her of the penalties associated with a Section 6 offence.

Aga then, having had enough of Garda Reilly’s crap, walked back over to the coward. She demanded to know what law she was breaking and informed him that she would not be silenced. The coward agreed that Aga might continue her protest but warned that he’d be back if there was another complaint. At this point, Garda Reilly informed Aga that she was being arrested under the powers given to her by Section 24 of the Public Order Act. Aga pointed out to Reilly that the coward, who’d been the first garda on the scene, had agreed that she should be allowed to stay and continue her protest. Reilly informed Aga that she too was a garda while she gently patted the coward on the shoulder. The coward, true to his nature, immediately cycled off, without looking at Aga. The activist was cuffed and placed in the waiting car.

The coward runs away as Reilly arrests Aga

The coward briefly returned as the activist was lead away, to repeat his earlier attempt at witticism, regarding the throwing of the circus animals on to the road. Nobody had responded to him the first time around, so he must have concluded that nobody had heard his brilliance. Nobody responded to this pathetic creature this time either, so he slithered away once more, his need for attention unsatiated. There’s hope for the coward though, I’m very sure that the High Court will recognise him for what he is, when Aga takes the Garda Commissioner to the cleaners.

The court case was brilliant. Agnieszka grilled Reilly on the Stand for over an hour. The garda couldn’t describe any behaviour of the gutsy activist that was threatening, abusive or insulting. She hadn’t recorded and couldn’t remember any words that were threatening, abusive or insulting. Even when prompted with the words that were used by Aga and the others, the Garda failed to identify any threat, insult or abuse. The garda had to very reluctantly agree that the signs and banners that the activists had displayed had not been confiscated, neither had there been any issue with them, despite, as Aga pointed out, the fact that they contained essentially the same messages that the activists were attempting to convey verbally to members of the public. The garda in one rare moment of inspiration (or despair) asked Aga if she had a problem with the definition of the word “threatening.” The activist, without skipping a beat, told her that she had, and that she’d be grateful if the garda could define if for the Court and show how it related to her words and behaviour on the day in question. Needless to say, the garda was unable to do so. For a finish we were left with the garda repeating her nonsense mantra: that she believed that Aga’s behaviour on the day might occasion a breach of the peace – which is of course, mere opinion evidence, which has no place in the District Court when given by a non-expert witness like Reilly.

One particular phrase that Reilly used, when repeatedly poked by Aga to tell the Court if she’d had concerns for any of the children that she’d accused activists of “abusing” and “shouting and roaring at,” was the phrase: “in the backside of my mind.” A very good phrase, I thought to myself. It just about described where each and every action of the garda on the day originated from: The arsehole in her head.

When asked if she could remember telling Ms Bartolome to take her “rubbish” with her and giggling as she left, Garda Reilly answered that she could not remember doing so, but could not be pushed by Aga into denying it.

Aga quizzed the garda who had taken to wringing her hands and grimacing, about the section 24 charge (false name and address). The Garda, who could no longer even look at the judge as she gave evidence, as he’d had occasion to shout at her on the odd occasion or three, agreed that she’d not given a false name. She couldn’t recall either, as to when she’d allegedly made the demand for Aga give her details, other than to say that it was prior to the arrest. Aga helped the distraught garda out at this point by reminding the garda that she’d demanded details from the young lady, when she was lying on the floor of Clontarf Garda station, with Reilly standing over her and screaming: “What’s your fucking address!” The Charge Sheet of course claimed that Reilly had made the demand for details at the scene and prior to the arrest.

Another point, so that the ignorant might be educated. Reilly informed the Court that Aga had been offered an adult caution and that she’d refused it. This might well have been the case. And if it was, it’s just another example of Reilly’s and her superior’s incompetence. The fact that there was a section 24 charge meant that Aga did not qualify for such a caution.

Garda Reilly was stupid enough to bring her buddy, Garda Ward, the driver of the car with her as a witness (it’s a pity she didn’t bring the coward too). Aga objected to this as she had no notice that this garda would be a witness and had no summary of his evidence. Judge Blake informed Aga that he wanted to hear this witness. But what the heck. It facilitated Aga in opening Garda Reilly’s precis (summary of evidence) to the Judge. The precis being a true work of art. And it facilitated Ms Chojnacka in finishing Garda Reilly’s Section 24 charge off with a smooth and efficient coup de grace. When the garda had finished repeating some of the swill that Reilly had attempted to fob off on the Court, Aga asked him if he’d demanded her details. He arrogantly replied that he had, giving the impression that he thought that he’d scored a point. Aga dismissed him (Reilly tried to cross examine her own witness at this point and was savaged by the Judge) and made an application to the Court to dismiss the Section 24 charge, stating that just about every piece of information on the charge sheet did not agree with the facts, as presented by the gardaí in evidence to the Court (in this instance, Reilly was not the garda who’d made the demand, as the charge sheet claimed).

Garda Ward takes Aga's details

The Judge then asked Aga if she had any other applications to make. She replied that she didn’t, “at this time.” The judge, whom I suspect was sick of the whole sorry mess and who didn’t want to have to sit through lots of video, and witness evidence, told the defendant, that now was the time to do so. One of the witnesses, Elin Bjerding, who was essential, to authenticate some of the video evidence amongst other things, had been flown in from Sweden at Aga’s expense, for the third time, to give testimony. Agnieszka, who really wanted to display the video evidence and have her witnesses heard, reluctantly made an application to have the remaining, Section 6 and Section 8 charges struck out. Judge Blake, after giving the cringing and fawning Garda Reilly a piece of his mind, struck both charges, relying on Aga’s right to have charges explained to her and the consequences of them, should she be found guilty. He named Galligan and Mulligan (and another one, that I didn’t catch) as being cases that set precedent for this. Aga in preparing the closing argument that she didn’t get to make, also went into Galligan, amongst a plethora of others.

Only the charge for failing to appear, in violation of Aga’s bail conditions remained. She’d spent two days in garda custody on foot of a bench warrant over this. A very pleasent gentleman, Garda Donal O’Neill, gave evidence on this. When examined by Aga he agreed that the failure to appear had been a genuine and honest mistake. This did not change after I as her McKenzie Friend who has accompanied her on each of her many visits to the court in relation to this case, gave evidence, or after Aga gave evidence. His affable manner was both refreshing and encouraging and he has our gratitude for it. Judge Blake gave Ms Chojnacka the benefit of the doubt and struck the final charge.

It was a battle that lasted about an hour and a half. At the end of it, all that was left, to plagiarise Deep Purple, was “smoke on the water.”

Alternative link for this article:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96775

More Court cases from this group:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/95761
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/95068
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93510

Aliberation: http://aliberation.vegaplanet.org/
VegaPlanet: http://www.vegaplanet.org/

On Monday the 7th of December, Mr Robert Ševcik was in the Richmond Court to conclude a marathon hearing that had spilled into a second day. Mr. Ševcik an animal rights activist and a vegan, was answering to four charges, ranging from threatening, insulting and abusive behaviour, under the Public Order Act, to failing to produce his passport upon demand, under the Immigration Act. All of these charges arose out of a protest at Barnado’s Furriers on Grafton st. close to the Molly Malone statue, on the 18th of October, 2008.

It was a case littered with perjury, a missing garda sergeant and a mysterious garda inspector. Nonetheless, at the end of the case, the judge accepted Mr Ševcik’s evidence and he walked out of the court, with each and every charge dismissed.

VegaPlanet: http://www.vegaplanet.org/
Aliberation: http://aliberation.vegaplanet.org/

Garda David Walsh

How long shall we continue to allow this rotten State continue its attempt at snuffing out the most basic and fundamental of rights?

Three activists ran at Ms Barnado, an aging dear, as she locked up her shop. They began to scream and rage at her, right into her face. She was terrified.

Garda Walsh almost couldn’t believe his eyes. That didn’t stop the garda from switching to automatic, as he hurtled into the rapidly developing situation, without even a thought towards his own safety. Close to him, he noticed that Sergeant Costello, who must have had similar urges, was running towards the entrance of the shop and the situation also. They were both running from behind a line of protesters, the ones who hadn’t run at the owner of Barnado’s Furriers.

That was garda Walsh’s take on what happened: Three protesters run at woman. Sergeant Costello and Garda Walsh approach from behind the line of protesters. He swore it under oath and he did so a number of times, as he was cross-examined by Mr Robert Ševcik, the defendant. In other words, Garda Walsh swore that Sergeant Costello was a liar. Of course, Garda Walsh was also perjuring himself.

Sergeant Costello had a completely different tale to tell. He was with Ms Barnado when the three made their move. He was in the process of taking a complaint from her. He’d stepped between the frail lady and the worst of the three, Mr Ševcik, and asked him and the other two to go away. But Mr Ševcik wasn’t having any of it, he had nothing to say and he was going to bellow it at the frightened old dear some more. At this point, according to the sergeant, the lower ranking Walsh arrived, and made the same request that he had just made. But Rob ignores them both, one after the other, and resumes shouting into Ms Barnado’s face. (Either Rob must have shoved his head right through the sergeant’s chest, as he was apparently between Rob and Ms Barnado, or else, both gardaí moved aside, to facilitate Rob’s access to his alleged victim.)

Unfortunately for Mr Ševcik, Rob, he couldn’t go into Sergeant Costello’s evidence and confront Garda Walsh with it, as the Sergeant wasn’t present at the hearing. All Rob had was the Sergeant’s garda statement, given to him as part of a precis of evidence. Unfortunately (for the truth), the court rules do not permit such evidence to be admitted or disclosed, in a situation where the garda who produced it is unavailable for the hearing.

We’re not in court now though.

I might be getting ahead of myself, so I’ll go back to a beginning…

Robert Ševcik walked into the Richmond courtroom, followed by his McKenzie Friend, me. The pale young Austrian had a lot of weight on his shoulders. This case had been listed for hearing on a number of occasions, but had been put off each time, to the objections of Rob. We didn’t know whether it was going to go ahead or not. Rob had missed a fair bit of work, due to his frequent and quite useless but necessary visits to court on this issue (necessary in the sense that if he’d missed a single sitting, or if he’d been sufficiently late, a bench warrant would have issued, at the least). His witnesses had missed work too, though it was fewer times. Bosses were angry etc. Sometimes this far from subtle aspect of closing down dissent is missed. It is never missed by those who have to go through it. Even nastier, the fact that a defendant must put his or her friends and witnesses through the same yoke is very traumatic. At least that’s what it feels like. It’s a mechanism that quite obviously would tend to sunder what’s left of a group after the gardaí have first harassed a group and bled it dry of comrades and any potential new blood.

Rob’s friends stood shoulder to shoulder with him. They’re not going to fall to their knees and give up their right to meet in public and their right to engage with that same public. That option just isn’t on the table.

Anyway, couple that with us getting off to a really bad start. There were two cases, both of them covering similar allegations and similar sets of charges. We’d initially prepared to fight these two cases nearly a year before. The presiding judge split the two cases and put one of them back to next February, considering that there wasn’t a hope of having the time to hear them both, something that Rob had pointed out to a judge, near the beginning of this ordeal, but he’d been ignored. That was the beginning of our problems, this separation of the two cases, though we didn’t realise it at the time. We’d prepared for both cases very differently. In one case Rob was going to forensically tear the State’s case apart, and there’d be no motions to dismiss at the start. In the other, Rob was going to start out by making two motions, one after the other, each for dismissal. The judge moved the one that Rob was prepared to tear apart. Don’t get me wrong, Rob was prepared to pull both cases apart, it’s just that the movement itself caused a problem for the unmoved case, that neither of us had spotted. There was a mysterious garda inspector present during Rob’s arrest, indeed there’s video footage of him, with his hands on Rob as Rob is being lead away in handcuffs. The same inspector was present during the arrest of Rob that facilitated the moved trial also. We believe that the inspector might be a witness in the case that got moved. He was in court anyway. But he didn’t come back after the lunch break. A little surprise had been planned for the inspector. Rob was going to call him as a witness. One of two things would have resulted. If Rob had been refused, he would have moved to dismiss based upon the fact that Garda Walsh had failed to gather available and important evidence. The other possibility was way more interesting, Rob would have got to examine (possibly as a hostile witness) a garda inspector who probably didn’t have time to come up with a reasonable line of bullshit that agreed with the bullshit of the State’s other two witnesses (which was an impossibility as their stories didn’t agree either), if he decided to shovel shite, he’d have to improvise it as he went along.

Anyway, that went a bit pear shaped. Pity…

Not to worry though, Rob is looking forwards to having a long and interesting chat with the inspector in the witness box, in February.

There was another problem with the case. Garda Walsh claimed to have provided this problem under oath, but he was perjuring himself. The protester with the video camera, Ed Long, was forced to leave the area shortly before the festivities kicked off. Walsh claimed multiple times that he was the garda who directed Ed away, under the public order act for threatening and abusive behaviour. This was a lie of course, Walsh did not direct Ed, he did not explain the consequences to Ed, for refusing to follow such instructions and of course Ed was not directed away for threatening and abusive behaviour (As Walsh swore under oath). Ed captured the real story on camera. It was another Garda, a garda Tuite, who had demanded that Ed leave the area. Ed gave the camera to Tom McSherry, a soft spoken gentleman, before he left. When the festivities kicked off, all the protesters were surprised as they thought that the gardaí had had their fun, with the sending away of Mr Long. Not so this time.

The fun began when Sergeant Costello assaulted a young woman, A Ms Chojnacka. This assault was quickly followed up by Rob’s arrest. Tom managed to grab a few seconds of footage that shows Rob being lead away, shows that the shutters of Barnado’s Furriers are closed and shows Ms Chojnacka, having her details taken.

This is all fact. The judge at the end of the trial said that she accepted Mr Ševcik’s evidence, that it was the only clarity to be had in the trial.

So as can be seen, Rob went into court with lots of video evidence. But no footage of the actual events that resulted in his arrest.

To add insult to injury, Garda Walsh claimed to have demanded identification from Rob at the garda station,under the Immigration act (that said, in the charge sheet, it is claimed that this request happened at the scene, on Grafton st.). That coupled with the fact that Rob was also charged under the Public Order Act, Section 24, for not identifying himself, gives us an interesting scenario. Double jeopardy, Irish style, where both issues are tried at the same time.

It was shortly after the judge had asked Rob if he intended to put a motion to the court, to avail of myself as his McKenzie friend, that we knew we were in trouble. Not immediately mind you. Not until after Rob had informed the Court that he didn’t need to make such a motion, that he had already decided, himself, that he was going to use a McKenzie. It was just after this that we noted that most of the case law that we’d prepared, was either missing or incomplete. Maddeningly, the case law that provides for Mr Ševcik’s right to determine himself, as to whether he requires a McKenzie Friend or not was missing, well, we had the bit up to where it mentions a McKenzie Friend, but it was truncated from there. Shit!!

The Judge was incredibly kind and understanding, even the DPP gave. She said that she had no problem whatsoever with Mr Ševcik being helped with the presentation of his case. This was the first of the moves that the DPP’s representative made, that unconditionally shows her to be ethical and incredibly fair. The judge too must be praised. Fairness, understanding and latitude describe her. She gave Rob the time and the scope to develop his case and eventually, to utterly destroy the State’s case.

Couple all of this, with the fact that the Judge refused Rob’s first application to strike the matter, as Garda Walsh had delivered part of a precis at 2.30am in the morning. We’d had a similar application accepted by a different judge recently see http://www.indymedia.ie/article/93510. But the judge in this case would not accept the argument, saying that a precis is not an official document of the court and that she ensures all the time, that prosecuting gardaí deliver such paperwork. She said that Court Documents required service. Rob pointing out to the judge that he had a video of Garda Walsh asking him to sign a declaration of service for this late night delivery, didn’t dissuade her. Judges differ, what can you do? Interestingly, had Rob wanted to complain to Garda Walsh’s sergeant, about this overtly threatening late night visit, he could have just walked down from his house to the squad car, and made his complaint to Garda Walsh’s chauffeur and Sergeant.

Rob’s other motion, we didn’t have case law or a copy of the District Court rules, so a balls was made of same.

How did Rob destroy the State’s case?

By not doing what was expected of him of course. He was expected to put it to the State’s witnesses that they were talking shite, with regard to the alleged abuse of Ms Barnado. And indeed he was supposed to put it to Garda Walsh, that he hadn’t demanded Rob’s identification under the Immigration act. Both the judge and the DPP remarked on this a number of times during the trial.

Rob had a different plan. If he couldn’t prove something that never happened, and indeed something that his video footage didn’t cover, then he wasn’t going to waste his breath. He was going to show that the sworn testimonies of both the State’s witnesses didn’t agree with each other, with the video evidence or the testimony provided by Rob and his witnesses. Why should he put it to either, that they were talking shite, when he could have them effectively put it to each other, sullying themselves in the process.

Reasonable doubt. Very reasonable.

To cut a seven or eight hour story short, allow me to post Mr Ševcik’s final statement. Even the decent DPP said that she’d not put an answer to it.

Mr Ševcik’s closing statement and argument
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

The contradictions in the evidence before the court, and this is ever before one considers Sgt Costello’s statement, are such that the court cannot or reasonably return, a verdict of guilt.

Ms Barnado:

Ms Barnado says two feet is the distance between the entrance of the shop and the protesters when she exits the shop.

Ms Barnado says that the three protesters did not run at her. But that they immediately approached her when she came out of the shop.

Ms Barnado cannot remember having spoken to Sergeant Costello, after exiting the shop and prior to the alleged approach of the three protesters.

Ms Barnado cannot remember Sgt Costello being in the 2 foot gap with herself and the elusive Ms Corbet, when the three allegedly came at her. And she cannot of course remember the sergeant coming between her and the advancing three in that two foot gap. Judge, I cannot exploit this point to its potential and will leave it at that.

Ms Barnado Says that the camera outside the shop was purchased sometime after the day in question and most definitely had not been outside the shop on the day in question.

Ms Barnado has said in evidence, that eventhough she claims that the protesters have escalated the threat and abuse level of their protests over 18 months or so, and that she has been making complaints to the Gardaí, the whole time, that she has never once used her existing video equipment, two cameras at least point to where she claims most of the alleged threatening and abuse happens, to record and substantiate her claims for either the gardaí or the courts. She would rather use the safety and the privilege of the witness box to defame the protesters. This is despite the fact, that in evidence, she said that she’d do whatever it takes to protect her customers. When asked to elaborate upon what she’d be willing to do, she refused to answer.

Ms Barnado in evidence, said that she made complaints to the gardaí, on the day in question, about threatening and abusive signs and threatening and abusive behaviour with regard to the protesters. However, she was unable to give a single example of anything threatening or abusive about the signs. Furthermore and much more importantly, she in evidence, claimed that it was both the volume and the actions of the protesters that gave rise to her allegations of threatening and abusive behaviour.

Ms Barnado said in evidence that the gardaí, prior to going into the shop, to take her complaint, moved the protesters back from the front of the shop, but they moved back after the gardaí had left. This is a blatant untruth. The gardaí did not move the protesters back, prior to going into the shop. Furthermore, the gardaí did not leave the area and the protesters, who had at no point been lined up 2 feet from from the front of the shop, did not advance on the shop and come to a halt two feet from the front of it. Indeed, from the vidoe footage, when the two gardaí exit the shop, they along with Mr Long, walk between the shop and the protesters, over to the Grafton st side of the shop. They stop there and start to talk with Mr Long and another gentleman with a camera. Even then, people are observed to walk between this group and the shop. Thus, the protesters, at all times are more than 2 feet from the entrance of the shop, indeed, at all times they are more than the 4 or 5 feet from the shop that the garda has sworn a number of times, was the distance.

Ms Barnado insists that Ms Corbet was with her when she exited the shop. Despite the fact that it would be improbable that Ms Barnado could or would, exit the shop, if there were only 2 feet space for her to advance into, it would be physically impossible for two people to exit under these circumstances. We can show that Ms Corbet left long before Ms Barnado. On top of that, the court should not believe that the protesters were anywhere close to the shop entrance. Afterall, there were at least four gardaí present, one an inspector, another a sergeant and two uniformed gardaí, indeed one protester, the one who’d been using a camera had already been directed away under sections 8 and 9 (obstruction) of the POA act.

Garda:

The Garda said that there was no public order offence taking place when he entered the shop, contrary to the evidence of Ms Barnado.

Garda insists that he took a complaint from Ms Barnado yet admits that he wrote nothing in his notebook. He also admits that not producing a notebook to record a complaint, when one is being given, is “unusual.”

Garda insists that he was the one who directed Mr Long away under section 6 and 8 of the public order act. Mr Long’s name and address were taken, yet the garda has no record of this in his notebook. Video evidence shows that this garda did not direct Mr Long and shows that the garda that did, recorded Mr Long’s details in his notebook.

The garda defines an “intimate” or a “personal zone,” as being about a two foot radius around a person. He insists that protesters were 4 to 5 feet from the shop at all times. He said that when Ms Barnado walked out of the shop, that three protesters ran at her. Protesters would have been within Ms Barnado’s intimate zone, the moment she left the shop and running towards her would have been impossible.

Garda insists that himself and Sergeant Costello approached the protesters from behind. Yet when asked where he was situated prior to Ms Barnado’s exit he replied that he didn’t know. Again I am prejudiced in my defence as I cannot use the evidence of Sergeant Costello to fully refute this version of events.

The garda said that he had procured Sgt Costello’s statement as part of his investigation. He indicated that the mass of contradictions between his evidence and Sgt Costello’s statement was someone else’s problem, rather than his. I’m confident in my belief that the garda wishes it to be my problem.

Video Evidence:

Video evidence shows that there was a camera outside the shop on the day in question, contrary to Ms Barnado’s evidence.

Video evidence shows that the protesters were neither lined up 2 feet from the shop nor 4 or 5 at any time, contrary to the sworn testimony of both the State’s witnesses.

Video evidence shows that the garda did not take Mr Long’s details and explains why the Garda did not record Mr Long’s details in his notebook. These details were recorded in the notebook of the garda that actually dealt with Mr Long.

Video evidence shows that Mr Long was not directed away from the area for threatening and abusive behaviour, contrary to the sworn testimony of the garda, he was directed away for allegedly obstructing the shop entrance.

Video evidence shows Ms Corbet leaving the shop at least 10 minutes prior to the shop being closed.

Video evidence shows a garda defining the “immediate area” as Dublin 2, with regard to directing Mr Long to leave the immediate area.

Video evidence shows a garda telling Mr Long that lawful excuse is not catered for in the Public Order Act.

Video evidence shows that prior to the gardaí entering the shop, they did not move the protesters back or direct them in any way, contrary to Ms Barnado’s evidence.

Video evidence shows the prosecuting garda saying to Mr Long that all the protesters had been directed to leave the area. The video evidence shows this to be far from the truth.

Finally, the video evidence shows that the shutters of the shop were down at the time of my arrest. This is significant, in that the evidence of the State’s two witnesses argues that I was interfering with Ms Barnado whilst she was trying to close the shop. One can only wonder how the shutters came to be locked, with no sign of Ms Barnado, at the time of my arrest.

Ms Chojnacka’s Evidence:

Ms Chojnacka said that Sgt Costello had assaulted her when Ms Barnado exited the shop and that this was the incident that lead to my arrest. This has not been contradicted by any evidence or by any other means, therefore it stands as an undisputed fact.

Ms Chojnacka’s evidence puts Sgt Costello between the protesters and Ms Barnado as she exited the shop. This is contrary to the prosecuting garda’s sworn testimony and again, I’m prejudiced, by not being in a position to fully develop and explore this contradiction.

Ms Chojnacka’s evidence stated that Ms Barnado, upon exiting the shop, walked towards members of the gardaí, who were standing outside the shop, over on the left hand side and that no protester approached.

Aga stated that eventhough she had had her details taken that day, that she had neither approached nor run at Ms Barnado. She said her details were taken after she had complained about Sgt Costello pushing her.

Mr Long’s Evidence:

Mr Long said that protesters had not been directed to move back at any time prior to his leaving the area.

Mr Long, with his video evidence proved that there was a camera outside the shop, contrary to Ms Barnado’s evidence.

Mr Long’s testimony along with the agreeing video evidence, proves that the prosecuting garda is a stranger to the truth with regard to his insisting, multiple times under cross examination, that he had been the one who had directed Mr Long away from the area.

Mr Long proved that the prosecuting garda was a stranger to the truth with regard to his insisting that Mr Long had been directed away from the area for threatening and abusive behaviour.

Mr Long with his video evidence established two others things. Ms Corbet had left the shop before Mr Long left the area and before it was closed. He also established that prior to my arrest, I was wearing a backpack. This backpack is not recorded in the custody record. I shall talk more about this significant detail shortly.

The first witness, Ms Barnado, said that she would do “whatever it takes” to protect her customers.

The first witness also avoided the truth in her claims about when the camera outside the store was first put there. She was adamant that this camera was not purchased until after this alleged event.

I say that securing video footage of allegedly illegal activities would secure this protection that the witness so reasonably declares she wants to and will provide. One would reasonably conclude that this was one of the purposes that these cameras were purchased for in the first instance – to detect crime and to serve as evidence of that crime.

It was not my claim that the witness has such a duty of care – the witness herself has forcefully declared it.

Yet, she claims that illegal activities – unlawful protests, threatening, insulting and abusive protests (she claims to embrace lawful protest) – have been occurring and indeed escalating for a period of about 18 months.

This points to one of two conclusions:

i. That the witness cares not a jot for her business or her customers and that the expensive video cameras are merely decoration, that might at some undisclosed and incomprehensible time in the distant future, possibly act as a deterrent.

Or:

ii. That the video cameras have not once recorded a single unlawful act for more than 18 months of protest and public communication.

To add substance to the second point, the garda witness has discredited the first witness’ opinion as to what constitutes an offence. She claims that many offences were taking place as the gardaí entered her shop. The garda had to reluctantly admit that there were no such offences. Indeed the garda’s reluctance, amongst many other things, itself points to an emotional attachment that has clouded this trial. As well as the first witness’ opinion being shown for what it is, her honesty is also brought into question. She claimed that protesters had been directed by the gardaí prior to entering the shop. The garda rightly, for once, told the truth (the video evidence also shows this).

As for the garda’s evidence: The garda claims to have performed his duty with two protesters on the day in question, with regard to section 6 of the Public Order Act. 50% of this claim has been shown via video evidence, to be an utter and a blatant fabrication. In 50% of this claim, it has been shown that section 6 of the Public Order Act played no part. This cannot be disputed. On top of this, the garda has not told the truth, he claimed repeatedly that he was the person who directed Mr Long. As for the other 50% of this garda’s claims, we only have his word on it. One might be tempted to suggest that the first witness is in agreement with the garda on this point. However, this is far from the case. The positions of people, their momentum and many other descriptions that are necessary to paint a picture of what did or didn’t happen, are all in dispute, between the two witnesses. The first witness, when asked what had been shouted at her, by the three protesters and then the one protester, couldn’t tell us. She went on to suggest that what was said wasn’t the issue. She claimed that volume and proximity were the issues. With the garda we fared no better. As usual, he unusually failed to produce his notebook and record what was allegedly said. Indeed we have four police officers at this scene, we have gardaí, we have a sergeant and we have an inspector. And we have not the beginnings of a clue as to what was allegedly said. The court is expected to believe that three people rushed a lady advancing in her years, in plain sight of four police officers and started screaming at her incoherently, and that I, having been spoken to twice, by two different officers, was allowed to and went straight back to screaming right in her face. I’d honestly suggest, that had this been the initial description of my alleged crime, that at the very least, the honourable district Court would not have accepted jurisdiction, and would have wondered aloud, why the other two alleged lunatics were not arrested and prosecuted. But of course this was not the initial picture painted for the Court. This is what one is left with though, when one examines it. I say that it is the evidence itself, in this case, that is screaming insanely, without words or reason.

There is plenty of Doubt here, and all of it is reasonable. The prosecution, to quote R V Shippey: “cannot pick the plums and leave the duff,” the difference in this case being that it’s hard to distinguish a single plum. The prosecution has asked the Court to drink this watery soup and has provided a fork to accomplish it.

To compound all of this even further, there was another garda witness, whose statement has been provided to me as a part of a precis, but he himself was not provided for me to cross examine. This further prejudices me. Eventhough I say that this statement is as fictional as the other differing accounts we have heard, it would have facilitated me in attacking the prosecution’s case with even more of its own incredible and contradictory evidence. I say this fact on its own, on the balance of probabilities, a much lesser standard than ‘beyond reasonable doubt,’ means that I’m disabled in my defence, to the point of unfairness.

I say that this Court cannot, in good conscience, cherrypick a pathway through this mire, merely to see me in the worst light.

Finally, I must deal with the charges against me under the Immigration Act. There are three reasons as to why these charges should fail. Firstly there is a conflict of evidence. I say that I was not asked to produce identification under any Act, that it was to do with ensuring that I had not given false details. The garda says that I was asked under the Act, though he admits that he did so, to further the Public Order investigation. I spoke earlier of my backpack. Eventhough I was unaware of the specific legislation regarding my having to carry suitable identification, I was well aware that I had to carry such identification. My backpack did not make it to the custody record. My passport was in it. I say that the gardaí have misused their powers in how they have used this law. They’ve taken a shield and have turned it into a crude club. It could only have been worse if they’d dragged me from my bed, taken me to a station, and then, and only then, demanded that I produce my identification, under this Act.

To compound the issue further, my bag and passport, were tracked down by my friends and my passport was presented to the garda prior to my release, indeed my release was dependent upon it. At the very very least, I say that if the Judge decides to take these two charges seriously, then I have provided a very reasonable excuse for not having my identification immediately when it was required. I did not have it because the gardaí separated me from it, prior to demanding it.

The second reason these set of charges should fail is quite straight forward. Garda Walsh, under cross examination, admitted that he asked for my passport to further the investigation into the alleged public order offences. It follows that if there were no such offences, that there would be no logical or ethical reason to investigate them further.

The third reason is the most poignant. On the one hand, I’m being prosecuted for not identifying myself to the garda, under the Public Order Act. On the other hand I’m being prosecuted under the Immigration Act, because I failed to identify myself to a garda, to facilitate his investigation as to why I didn’t identify myself under the Public Order Act. This is a classic example of Double Jeopardy, with one missing element. The trying of this issue does not follow the trying of the other issue in a separate case. These two issues are being tried together at the same time. However, it is my argument, that the moment the Court comes to a determination regarding the Public Order matters, Double Jeopardy is immediately present should the Court move to consider the Immigration Act charges.

That concludes my closing arguments. Thank you Judge.
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The courtroom was silent for a few moments after this.

The judge, said something that surprised even an old cynic like me. She said that she accepted Rob’s evidence.

She accepted that Rob had been arrested by Sergeant Costello. (Of course, had she read the sergeant’s statement, she’d have know that Costello too had claimed that Garda Walsh had been the arresting office).

She went on to tell Mr Ševcik and the rest of the court about “flash points,” and about the hard time gardaí have in policing public order. She said that she hadn’t even realised that there’d been an inspector present, until Rob had said so. This is not quite correct, Rob had gotten that fact out of Garda Walsh, shortly after he’d been turned of to Rob for cross-examination. Hey judges are human too, no biggie.

It was at this point that judge undone all the good work that she’d achieved thus far, and it was considerable. When Rob had testified, he’d said that he’d been on one end of the protest line and Aga, Ms Chojnacka had been at the other end. He said that when she’d been assaulted, he’d made his way to her side, to ensure that she was okay. He said that he’d ignored the sergeant (as opposed to putting him on his arse, I presume) and had followed Aga as she was taken about three yards away by two gardaí, who were demanding that she identify herself, to see what the issue was.

He said that Sergeant Costello had come up to him and demanded that he leave the area immediately under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. Rob produced a copy of the Act, handed it to the Sergeant and asked him to point out what it was that he had done, and what section of the Act, facilitated the Sergeant’s demands. The Sergeant ignored the paper and the request and demanded Rob’s details. Rob demanded his property back and had his arm ripped behind his back, for his troubles and was then arrested, by the sergeant, not Garda Walsh, who’d played no part in this whatsoever.

The judged after putting much emphasis on Rob having ignored the sergeant and even more on his not having immediately complied with the sergeant’s unsubstantiated demands, dismissed under the probation act, the charges. On faith she did this. In the belief, that because there was an inspector present, that the situation must have been tense and the protesters must have been responsible for it. I don’t begrudge her this faith. But I do not appreciate it. The only evidence of this flash point that was before the court, was the assault on Ms Chojnacka. Plus as I’ve said, Costello also claims that he was not the arresting officer.

She also dismissed the Immigration Act charges, stating that it was a misunderstanding and that Rob had produced his passport.

Rob left the courtroom with no criminal record whatsoever. But the probation act has left a bad taste in all our mouths.

We’ll get to examine the very same “misunderstanding” next February.

On the 15th, next week, in the brand new courts at the Phoenix Park. Ms Chojnacka, will go head to head with a garda from the Clontarf garda station, where she hopes to vindicate the right to free speech and public assembly. Plenty of video evidence to be had at this one too.

In closing I want to put my respect for Rob on the record. Even when, on the first day of this trial and things looked bleak. He held to his faith, in himself. He worked slowly and assuredly and achieved victory. Now there’s a faith that I can appreciate.

Rob (in the tie) and friends after his victory