Posts Tagged ‘Interpol’

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