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Public order accused seek garda footage

A POLITICAL activist and a German student have denied charges following a demonstration outside the European People's Party conference in Dublin.

Shane O'Brien (23) and Jennifer Rieck (23) were both arrested outside the event at the Convention Centre, which was hosted by Fine Gael and attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They have denied public order charges arising from the incident last March.

The case was about to go to trial at Dublin District Court when the defence sought an adjournment, saying gardai had been seen using camcorders to film the protest and this footage was not supplied by the prosecution.

Mr O'Brien, with an address at Rathbourne Avenue, Ashtown, Dublin 15 and Ms Rieck, of Leinster Road, North Phibsboro are both charged with using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour to cause a breach of the peace.

Ms Rieck is also charged with giving gardai a false name and address in the incident at North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 on March 3 last.

Defence Barrister Brian Storan said not all the footage taken at the scene had been disclosed by the prosecution.

He explained the accused had been there as part of a political demonstration on the day.

Barriers were set up and there were "members of An Garda Siochana with camcorders", Mr Storan alleged.

Garda Colin Hampson of Store Street Station said he was not aware of this. If any gardai had camcorders, he did not know about it.

The prosecution had furnished CCTV footage from fixed point cameras to the defence. He added that the prosecution was not relying on the video evidence.

"I don't have any idea why the camcorder footage wasn't disclosed to the defence," Garda Hampson said.

Judge Ann Watkin adjourned the case to a date later this month for enquiries to be made about the situation.

Once this is clarified, she said, a new trial date could be set.

At the time the defendants were arrested, gardai had no objection to bail.

Judge Patricia McNamara had also granted legal aid to the accused after hearing Mr O'Brien was on social welfare and that Ms Rieck was a university student currently in Ireland for research.


Under her bail conditions, Ms Rieck had been ordered to stay away from the National Conference Centre for the duration of the EPP event.

The anti-austerity protest was marked by violence when some demonstrators clashed with gardai.

Heads of government, party leaders, ministers, and about 2,000 delegates from across Europe attended the two-day EPP conference.