Jury sworn in for anti-war protests trial

A jury has been sworn in for the trial of five anti-war protestors accused of damaging a US naval plane at ShannonAairport in February 2003.

A jury has been sworn in for the trial of five anti-war protestors accused of damaging a US naval plane at ShannonAairport in February 2003.

The trial will start at Dublin Circuit Court tomorrow and is expected to run until March 16 or 18.

Judge Michael White told the jury panel that the offences with which the accused are charged arose in the context of protests against the US led war in Iraq.

He said that should any member of the panel have strong feelings and opinions about the issue that would prevent them from impartially judging the evidence they should indicate it before they were sworn in.

The five are Damien Moran, a student priest with the Holy Ghost Fathers in Dublin and Ciaran O’Reilly, an Australian, both working with homeless people and living at the same address on South Circular Road, Rialto; Nuin Dunlop, from the United States of America, a trained counsellor who lives in Dublin city centre; Karen Fallon, a Scottish marine biologist living on South Circular Road, Dublin 8; and Deirdre Clancy, a copy editor from Clontarf, Dublin.

They all pleaded not guilty to one count of damaging a US naval plane and to causing similar damage to two glass door panels at Aer Rianta at Shannon Airport on February 3, 2003.

The five accused last appeared at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on July 25, 2003 after their case was moved from Ennis Circuit Criminal Court following the successful argument by their counsel, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, that they would not get a fair trial in Co Clare.

At the July 2004 hearing their bail conditions were changed to signing on twice weekly at a garda station and to notifying gardai of any change of address 24 hours in advance. They were also ordered to stay out of Clare unless with permission from An Garda Siochana in Ennis.

All the accused, except US citizen Dunlop, were also ordered to stay outside of a half mile radius of the US Embassy in Dublin. However, this did not preclude Ms Fallon from attending at the United Kingdom Embassy in Dublin.

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