TD Joan Collins cleared over protest
TD Joan Collins has been cleared of breaching the Public Order Act during a water protest in Crumlin in Dublin last year.
The outgoing Independent TD and Right2Change campaigner and nine co-defendants were acquitted at Dublin District Court.
They had pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with a Garda's direction to leave the vicinity of a protest. Two of the TD's co-defendants also had charges for obstructing gardaí.
After the judge dismissed the charges, Ms Collins told reporters outside court: "I am really angry, for three days during an election I have been pulled in here along with my colleagues in relation to the election.
"It should never have happened. I said at the very beginning, what we were doing was legal." She and her co-defendants, all from Dublin, including councillor Patrick Dunne (48), had faced a non-jury trial. Cllr Dunne had his charge dismissed on Tuesday.
Gardaí had claimed that they and GMC/Sierra workers, who had been trying to install water meters, were verbally abused and were threatened on the morning of April 20 last.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy noted that the scene had been described as noisy and a Garda Sergeant had not used a device to project his voice when he gave a direction to the protesters to leave. He could not be sure that the people there heard it, he ruled. The court heard some of the defendants were not present when the caution was given and some arresting gardaí had a different understanding of the caution.