Update 4.50pm: All charges have been dismissed against a group of 10 water charge protesters who were arrested as a crew tried to install a metre in Dublin last April.
In dismissing the cases this afternoon, Judge McCarthy raised doubts about whether all of the protesters heard the direction of Sergeant David Lynch.
He there was a lot of noise and commotion and noted that he failed to use an instrument to project his voice and as a result he felt there was a reasonable doubt as to whether his order was heard and understood by everybody.
Update 3.25pm: Independent TD Joan Collins has questioned the timing of her trail after being cleared of failing to comply with a Garda direction to leave the scene of a water charge protest.
“This really vindicates what we said from the very beginning that we were out with community and our neighbours, peacefully protesting, having an effective protest to stop water meters being put into our community,” said the election candidate in Dublin South-Central.
“I’m really angry that this is not by accident that three days during an election, I’ve been pulled in here, along with my colleagues.”
Earlier: Outgoing Independent TD Joan Collins has been cleared of failing to comply with a Garda direction to leave the scene of a water charge protest in Dublin.
The judge dismissed the case against her after hearing evidence in relation to her summons and the direction given by Gardaí last April.
Banners in support of the so-called ‘CRUMLIN 11’ were erected outside the court on Day 1 of this trial.
The group was whittled down to 10 when one of them did not show up and reduced to nine yesterday when the case against Dublin Councillor Patrick Dunne was dismissed.
It now stands at eight after Judge Aeneas McCarthy decided the State had not raised the required standard to support a case against outgoing TD Joan Collins.
The public order charges were brought after a crew was prevented from installing a water meter on Dublin’s Parnell Road.
Gardaí instructed the group to leave the area, but Ms Collins’ barrister argued there was no evidence to suggest she was involved in the use of threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour and was entitled to her right to protest even if there are a “few rotten apples in the basket”.
A similar application is now being heard for one of the remaining protesters.