Antiwar protestors' trial collapses in Dublin

The trial of five antiwar protestors charged with damaging a US aircraft at Shannon Airport has collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court following legal arguments in the absence of the jury.

The trial of five antiwar protestors charged with damaging a US aircraft at Shannon Airport has collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court following legal arguments in the absence of the jury.

"Your function in this trial is at an end. As a result of submissions made to me, I am going to discharge you," Judge Frank O’Donnell told the jury on what was to be day six of the trial, which was heard in a courtroom constantly packed with antiwar protestors.

Judge O’Donnell told the jury he was not going into the reasons for its dismissal "because there will be another trial". He also made it known he did not want the reasons for the trial’s ending to be published as it might be prejudicial to any future trial.

"We are here to ensure that the accused get a fair trial; that all fair proceedings are followed; and that justice is not only done but seen to be done," he said. If there was the remotest possibility that all such conditions were not being satisfied, he said, he had to call a halt to the proceedings.

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

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 case will be mentioned before Judge O’Donnell tomorrow with regard to changing the bail conditions of some of the accused. It will then be put back on the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court list to fix the date for a new trial.

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