The Irish Anti-War Movement

Mary Kelly conviction overturned by Court of Appeal

Press Release

Press Release

Mary Kelly conviction overturned by Court of Appeal
10:15am, 25th February 2011 
On Friday 25th February 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin overturned the conviction against Mary Kelly for criminal damage to a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport on 29 January 2003. The decision was deliverd by Judges Peart, Hardiman and De Valera. Ms Kelly was originally convicted by Ennis Circuit Court in October 2004, and the appeal was heard on 29th July 2008. The Appeal judges offered no explanation as to why it took over two and a half years to deliver their judgment.
At her first trial in Kilrush Co. Clare, Ms Kelly’s response to the charge was: "I am not guilty as charged. I did what I have done with lawful excuse." This first trial resulted in a hung jury on 4th of July 2003. The State subsequently retried Ms Kelly and she was convicted in Ennis Circuit Court under Judge Carroll Moran on 29th October 2004. It was this conviction that was overturned today.


This landmark Appeal Court decision reinforces the unanimous not guilty decision in the trial by a Dublin jury on 25 July 2006 of the five Catholic Workers who were also accused of damaging the same aircraft five days after Ms Kelly had damaged it.


Ms Kelly is very pleased with the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal, but was critical of both the court’s delay in delivering the judgment and of a four year delay in producing a full and accurate transcript of her trial. She added “The real crime here is the continuing use of Shannon Airport by the US military and the CIA, and the fact that the Irish government have prevented the search of these aircraft by the Gardai and continue to do so”.


“Mary Kelly’s action at Shannon did not stop US military use of Shannon, other Irish airports and airspace but it did highlight this abuse of international law” according to the peace and human rights organization Shannonwatch. “Since 29 January 2003, over two million armed US troops have passed through Shannon airport on their way to and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars are not in accordance with the UN Charter, and have resulted in violations of international humanitarian law including the Geneva Conventions. They have also directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom were innocent civilians. And if one considers the wider effects of the U.S. invasions, and the impact of sanctions that hurt everyone except the ruling elite in Iraq, the death toll probably extends to millions.”


US armed troops are still transiting through Shannon airport in 2011 at the rate of up to 500 soldiers each day. “By facilitating the U.S. military at Shannon Airport the Irish Government continues to be complicit in unjustified killing and suffering in Afghanistan” said Shannonwatch.


With every day that goes by there is also more and more evidence to indicate that the Irish government has contravened the UN Convention Against Torture by allowing known and suspected rendition planes to land at Shannon. A recently released Wikileaks cable from 2007 has revealed that Minister Dermot Ahern was “convinced” that renditions flights had transited Shannon. This and the ongoing use of Shannon in support of acts of war is something Ireland should be ashamed of. The next government must face up to its legal and moral responsibilities and end the U.S. military and CIA use of Shannon Airport.
For more information contact Edward Horgan, 086 3539911 or John Lannon, 087 8225087 or email shannonwatch@gmail.com.

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