On Wednesday 9th July, 6 Corrib campaigners appeared in Belmullet District court to answer charges as a result of their opposition to Shell. While the following Friday John Monaghan appeared in Castlebar Circuit Court, where he was appealing a conviction of obstruction and careless driving outside Shell's Aughoose compound.
On the 9th of July, 6 campaigners appeared in Belmullet Court. 4 of the cases were just for further processing as there cases will be transferred to the Circuit court, where there will be the option of a jury trial. These cases were adjourned until October.
The cases of Terence Conway and Eoin O'Leidhin were up for hearing on the day, with both being charged with trespass on Shell land in relation to an incident last summer. http://www.wsm.ie/c/shell-compound-breached-equipment-d...royed
Both defendants represented them in court, with Mr O'Leidhin selecting to run his court case through Irish. Recently appointed Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin traveled to Belmullet to hear the cases, and brought an slightly unusual tone of respect and civility to Belmullet Court. These cases had been due to be heard in April but both campaigners objected to the cases being heard by Judge Victor Blake.
Although the cases were related, the cases were run separately with Terence Conway's being up first. The prosecution witnesses included 2 Gardaí, Shell Pipeline Manager Drew Dixon along with head of IRMS Jim Farrell and ex-Garda Superintedent now head of IRMS security in Shell's Bellanaboy refinery Pat Doyle. The IRMS witnesses painted a picture of about 50 to 70 people having entered the Shell compound on the day in question and that the protestors outnumbered the IRMS security guards and forced them to retreat back to an inner compound. They stated that a lot of damage was done to the compound and the equipment and that they feared for their safety. None of the prosecution witnesses had seen Mr Conway damaging any equipment or assaulting anyone but they had heard him shouting and they claimed they he was trying to incite the crowd. Mr Conway denied this and stated that he had been trying to tell Jim Farrell to leave the area as his presence was enflaming the situation.
After the prosecution case ended the point was raised that trespass charge was related to trespass on a building or the curtilage of a building. The Judge ruled that the prosecution hadn't satisfied her that relevant area could be called the curtilage of a building due to all the internal and external fences that existed on the site. She then dismissed the case against Mr Conway.
Shortly after the Gardaí stated that they weren't in a position to offer any evidence in the case against Mr O'Leidhin, and so the Judge also dismissed this case.
This case is just the latest in a run of good results that Terence Conway has succeeded in getting while representing himself in court.
Castlebar Circuit Court
Last Friday, John Monaghan appeared in Castlebar Circuit Court where he was appealing a conviction of obstruction and careless driving outside Shell's Aughoose compound for which he was banned from driving for a year. An account of the District Court case is here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/104261
Mr Monaghan represented himself in court, however the case was adjourned until November after Mr Monaghan produced footage which he hadn't used in the District Court case. The case was adjourned to allow the prosecution and DPP review the footage. At the District Court case, Mr. Monaghan had made the argument that the Garda “investigation” was incomplete and that evidence was just sought from Garda or Shell sources.