The trial of the first 7 #Jobstownnotgulity defendants began today in the CCJ.
The day began with a rally of supporters and defendants in Smithfield Square at 12.30pm where hundreds of campaigners, activists and supporters gathered. The rally heard from Brian Leeson from Eirigi, TDs Ruth Coppinger and Brid Smith, Cllr Pat Dunne and MEP Lidia Senra.
In courtroom 7, just after 2pm, the trial got underway with the 7 defendants having their charges read to them – of falsely imprisoning Joan Burton & Karen O’Connell by ‘denying her personal liberty without her consent’. All 7 defendants responded to the charges by pleading ‘Not Guilty’.
The main issue of the day in court was the issue of jury selection.
The DPP had been seeking severe restrictions on who could be on the jury. They had sought to ban people from Jobstown & Tallaght, people connected to Tallaght , people who had been involved in water charges groups or campaigns, and people who had commented on social media about water charges. This would have potentially excluded hundreds of thousands of people who live in Tallaght, who are part of trade unions who have anti-water charges positions and thousands who had commented on water charges, the biggest social issue of the last number of years, on social media.
In the end, the DPP were knocked back on these criteria. The ban on people from Tallaght was reduced to only excluding people from the Fortunestown Road (where the protest happened) or people in the roads off it. Instead of the blanket ban on people who had commented on water charges, only people who had commented on the Jobstown protest itself were to be excluded.
This represents a pushback against what the DPP had wanted, but trial proper will kick off tomorrow with the prosecution laying out their case.
The judge indicated that a number of high profile witnesses will be called in the trial including Joan Burton, her assistant, and Minister Katherine Zappone.
We need to continue the campaign for the 6 weeks of the trial. This means continuing to show support by remaining active in the campaign. By intensifying the social media campaign – sharing Jobstown Not Guilty Facebook posts and keeping #jobstownnotguilty trending.
For regular updates from the courtcase follow the Jobstowntrial.wordpress.com blog