ShannonWatch - Court Report: Margaretta D'Arcy's Questions Unanswered

Source Thu, 11/07/2013 - 17:05 by shannonwatch http://www.shannonwatch.org

On Wednesday 10th July Margaratta D'Arcy appeared in Ennis District Court in connection with an alleged offence of improper use of Shannon Airport last October. Some of the national media reported that she caused mayhem in the court room when she confronted the judge in a bright orange jump suit. That may have been the case from some observer's point of view, but it would have been more accurate to report that she had tried to initiate a conversation relating to the charges being brought against her, and about the wider issues of war, renditions and the grave misuse of Shannon Airport.

Woman in court in orage jump suite

Here is our report on the court proceedings.

Court Report

Wednesday 10th July 2013, Ennis District Court,  Judge Patrick Durkan presiding.

Defendant : Margaretta D'Arcy (representing herself)

Proscecution : Inspector Tom Kennedy

The case was listed as no. 52 of 57 on the list for that day's proceedings.

The Charge (which was not read out to the court on the day) was that Mrs. D'Arcy had, in Oct 2012, 'interfered with the proper operation of an airport' contrary to S. 14 of The Airport Bye-Laws of 1994.   which is subsequently a contravention of S.16 (6) of the Air navigation Act 1950 as Amended by Section 28 of the Air Transport Navigation Act 1988 and S72 of the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993.  (Which amendments basically increased the penalties)

1950 Act S 16 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1950/en/act/pub/0004/sec0016.html#sec16

1988 Act S 28 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1988/en/act/pub/0015/sec0028.html#sec28

1993 Act S 72 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1993/en/act/pub/0029/sec0072.html#sec72

The case was called at 12: 10 at which time the judge, -unprompted - said that as it was a related case to Niall Farrell's case (which he had just adjourned in Niall's absence), and as there were preliminary matters to consider, including jurisdiction that he would also adjourn this case to 11th September, and that the defendant was not required to appear in person.

He did not seek any information from Inspector Kennedy on whether there were instructions from the DPP or any applications.

The defendant told the court that her hearing wasn't the best, and she was invited to approach the bench.

She asked the judge what the preliminary matters were. The Judge said that he would be considering jurisdiction, but he did not explain to the defendant was this meant or entailed.

The defendant also told the court that the summons was incorrect.

She asked for an explanation as to why the matters could not be addressed at that time. The judge did not engage her on this topic, other than to say "because I am the judge" and instead took issue that the defendant had stood on a bench to better see and hear him.  Margaretta insisted on her right to be treated as an equal and reminded him that the courts belong to the people.

The judge left the court room without addressing the defendants questions. Margareta berated him for ducking the issues.

It is worth pointing out that in earlier cases dealt with that morning, the Judge had more than once dealt with issues of jurisdiction on first hearing, and in each case he took the time to explain to the defendant what the issue was, and, where appropriate ask whether they would prefer for the case to be dealt with in the District Court or Circuit Court. The Judge also asked Inspector Kennedy if the DPP had issued any directions.

In once case a defendants case was struck out when the defendant raised the issue that the summons was out of order. The Judge heard the argument, and the case was struck out.

In Margaretta's case the Judge made no effort to explain what the jurisdictional issue was, nor to hear her reasons for claiming that the summons was invalid.