Report on appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th

The following report on the appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th was prepared by our Court Correspondant. It relates to a peace action undertaken by DAveand Colm Roddy which took place on May 24th last year (see report here). Earlier court appearances on July 20th, Sept 14th and Nov 16th.

The latest and final mention date for Dave Donnellan occurred Wednesday 11th January last and the one clear thing to emerge was the hearing date: Tuesday 23 May. Aside from that very little else was either clear or satisfactory about proceedings. At the previous mention the judge had ordered Dave to make a submission detailing the legal arguments justifying his request for discovery of details in connection with the two U.S. Military aircraft that were present on the day of the action. This had been prepared, however when Dave proceeded to submit this to the court the judge refused to accept it! Instead he asked the defendant to submit it verbally. When Dave said he would read it out again the judge refused and told him to give a verbal summary. The document contained a number of detailed legal arguments which Dave then attempted to give a brief summary of. In the circumstances the verbal summary before the court could in no sense do justice to the written submission and yet this is what the judge insisted on. Then on the basis of this inadequate summary the judge refused the submission saying he could see 'no connection' between the activity at the perimeter fence of the airport and the presence of two U.S. Military planes on the apron. This is consistent with the approach of the court over the years which attempts to strip peace actions of their wider context and see them as isolated acts of criminality. With regard to the presence of U.S. Military planes the court's approach is 'hear no evil, see no evil.'

Dave also reminded the court that the original discovery order had not yet been completed as a number of statements were still outstanding. Inspector Kennedy expressed surprise and told the judge he hadn't 'been aware of that' but would see to it. The discovery contained all the witness statements the prosecution will be using accompanied by a list. The list showed a number of statements were 'awaited'. So without the full discovery necessary to prepare a defense a hearing date has nevertheless been set by the judge. So very little that was clear or satisfactory about the day.

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