Friday 20 October 2017

Cheers as charges dropped against water protesters

Defendant Peter Herbert at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after charges were dropped against 10 defendants. Picture: Collins
Defendant Peter Herbert at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after charges were dropped against 10 defendants. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped almost all charges against remaining defendants in the Jobstown water protest case.

The announcement was greeted with raucous scenes at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Supporters of the accused clapped, cheered and chanted after Judge Melanie Greally said they were free to go.

An air horn was also sounded after the judge had left the courtroom. A number of people began chanting: "What do we want? A public inquiry. When do we want it? Now."

All charges were dropped against 10 defendants.

Most had been facing charges for violent disorder and for the false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell outside a graduation ceremony at the An Cosán centre in Jobstown, Tallaght, in November 2014.

A Garda vehicle they were in was surrounded by protesters after the ceremony and it was three hours before they were able to leave the area.

An 11th defendant, Dylan Collins, had a violent disorder charge withdrawn.

However, he is to be arraigned at a later date on a charge of criminal damage.

Prosecution counsel Sean Gillane informed Judge Greally of the decision to withdraw the charges.

Six of the defendants had been due to go on trial today and the remainder in April.

The decision to withdraw charges came after six people, including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, were acquitted of charges of falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell.

Charges against a seventh man were withdrawn during the trial.

The verdicts came after a nine-week trial during which evidence from a number of witnesses was at times contradicted by video footage.

Irish Independent

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