Anti-war protesters' trial in closing stages

The trial of five anti-war protesters accused of criminally damaging a US aeroplane at Shannon Airport has reached its closing stages at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The trial of five anti-war protesters accused of criminally damaging a US aeroplane at Shannon Airport has reached its closing stages at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Miriam Reynolds is expected to send the jury to begin its deliberations on Monday following the completion of her directions to it.

The five accused have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of causing damage without lawful excuse to a naval plane, property of the United States Government and to glass door panels, property of Aer Rianta at Shannon Airport, Clare on February 3, 2003.

They are Ciaran O’Reilly (aged 46), an Australian national, Nuin Dunlop (aged 34), a US citizen and counsellor, Damien Moran (aged 26), Karen Fallon (aged35), a Scottish marine biologist, all of Rialto Cottages, Rialto; and Deirdre Clancy (aged 36), a copy editor of Alverno Apartments, Clontarf.

The jury has been told that a lone garda was on duty in the hangar at 3.45am when five people came running in carrying hammers and an axe or mattock.

Evidence was given that they were shouting "some words of God" and went to the front, side and rear of the aircraft using the items to hit the plane. They then knelt in a circle and prayed until gardaí arrived to arrest them.

Copies of the Bible and Koran, Rosary and Islamic prayer beads, candles, flowers, St Bridget’s crosses and photographs of distressed children were among the items found at the scene in the form of a shrine at the doors to the hangar.

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