Kildare TD among those to sign open letter criticising DPP over Jobstown trial jury restrictions

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Kildare TD among those to sign open letter criticising DPP over Jobstown trial jury restrictions
17:11 Friday 21st of April 2017

43 TDs and Senators have signed a letter to outline their concerns at the restrictions put on jury members ahead of the upcoming trial of 11 people in relation to the 2014 Jobstown protests over Irish Water charges.

A number of peole are going on trial accused of false imprisonment of then Tánaiste Joan Burton as she made her way from a graduation ceremony to St Thomas' Church when her car was allegedly surrounded at Jobstown in Tallaght.

Last month the DPP proposed restrictions on who could act as jury members, suggesting that anyone from the Tallaght/Jobstown area or anyone with connections to the area should be omitted from the jury. Anyone who was active in campaign groups for or against water charges would also find it hard to be impartial according to the DPP, while it was also argued that people who have expressed themselves on public via social media should not take a place on the jury.

The following letter was issued by a group of TDs and Senators today, one of which is Kildare South Sinn Féin representative Brian Stanley.

"We write as TDs and Senators who have grave concerns in relation to the DPP's proposed restrictions on the jury for the trial of seven defendants charged with false imprisonment in relation to a protest in Jobstown on 15 November 2014. We are concerned that their proposals may endanger the principle of the right of defendants to a jury of their peers.

"Ruling out people from Tallaght and those connected to Tallaght excludes a large community. Ruling out those active in campaigning groups for or against water charges would obviously exclude very few people on the pro-water charges side, but a large number of those against water charges. It could even be stretched to exclude every member of a trade union, given that it is ICTU policy to oppose water charges. Similarly, ruling out those who have expressed themselves on water charges publicly would exclude a very large proportion of people who may have commented on or liked posts in relation to water charges on social media.

"We fail to understand why having expressed an opinion on water charges on social media would impact on the ability of a juror to impartially determine the guilt or innocence of someone accused of the crime of false imprisonment.

"We believe that the right to a jury of your peers is an essential aspect of the right to a fair trial.

Yours faithfully,

Gerry Adams TD
Mick Barry TD
Richard Boyd-Barrett TD
John Brady TD
Pat Buckley TD
Senator Frances Black
Joan Collins TD
Senator Rose Conway-Walshe
Ruth Coppinger TD
Seán Crowe TD
David Cullinane TD
Clare Daly TD
Senator Máire Devine
Pearse Doherty TD
Dessie Ellis TD
Martin Ferris TD
Kathleen Funchion TD
Senator Paul Gavan
Seamus Healy TD
Gino Kenny TD
Martin Kenny TD
Senator Padraig MacLochlainn
Mary Lou McDonald TD
Denise Mitchell TD
Imelda Munster TD
Carol Nolan TD
Jonathan O'Brien TD
Eoin Ó Broin TD
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh
Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Louise O'Reilly TD
Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Thomas Pringle TD
Maurice Quinlivan TD
Senator Lynn Ruane
Brian Stanley TD
Bríd Smith TD
Peadar Tóibín TD
Mick Wallace TD
Senator Fintan Warfield

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