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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DUBLIN1372 2005-11-08 16:25:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Dublin
Cable title:  

TRIAL OF SHANNON WAR PROTESTERS COLLAPSES FOR

Tags:   PREL MARR MOPS EI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 001372 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS EI
SUBJECT: TRIAL OF SHANNON WAR PROTESTERS COLLAPSES FOR
SECOND TIME




1. The jury hearing the case of the "Fab 5" was
discharged November 7 after legal argument over whether a
perception of bias could be made against the judge.
Earlier in the trial, the judge had ruled that "legal
excuse" would not be acceptable as a defense. He thereby
eliminated the defense's best argument. Subsequently,
the defense claimed that events Judge Donagh McDonagh had
attended in the U.S. could give the impression of bias.
Specifically, the defense cited a conference in Texas in
the 1990's in which the judge and other attendees were
photographed with then Governor Bush. Defense also cited
the judge's attendance at President Bush's inauguration
in 2000 and invitation to attend the 2004 inauguration.
The defense said these events could give the appearance
of bias, given that the Fab 5 attacked the plane to
protest U.S. policy. The judge said he would not give a
detailed analysis of his social history in open court,
but after a private meeting with the counsel, he
dismissed the jury. The Director of Public Prosecutions
must now decide whether to bring the case to trial for a
third time.



2. This is the second time a jury was dismissed in this
case. The first trial was abandoned when Judge Frank
O'Donnell withdrew it from the jury on the sixth day of
the trial. Yesterday was the 10th day of the second
trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.



3. Below is the text of the article that appeared in the
November 8 edition of the Irish Times.

BEGIN TEXT

The second trial of five anti-war protesters accused of
damaging a US aircraft at Shannon airport has collapsed
after defence lawyers suggested the judge had been
invited to both of George W Bush's presidential
inaugurations and attended the first one in 2000.

The first trial was also abandoned when Judge Frank
O'Donnell withdrew it from the jury on the sixth day of
the trial. Yesterday was the 10th day of the second trial
at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

In the absence of the jury defence counsel asked Judge
Donagh McDonagh to confirm whether he had, as a barrister
in the mid-1990s, attended a conference in Texas which
involved a photo call with the then governor, George W
Bush.

Counsel also suggested that Judge McDonagh was invited to
both of Mr Bush's presidential inaugurations and attended
the first one in 2000. Michael O'Higgins SC suggested
that the 2004 invitation was "extended by Mr Tom DeLay,
who has had recent difficulties".

Roderick O'Hanlon SC told Judge McDonagh that matters had
been brought to the attention of the defence team which
could lead it to ask the judge to disqualify himself from
handling the trial as they touched on issues relevant to
the trial.

Brendan Nix SC said it was not a question of "actual"
bias but the "perception of bias".

Mr O'Higgins said the defence was not attempting to argue
that any decision made by Judge McDonagh had been
affected by the information.

He said the trial process should "be seen to be
untainted" and the "purity of the system must be to the
fore. The personality of George W Bush is part of this
trial whether one likes it or not," he added.

Judge McDonagh said that he would not "give detailed
analysis" of his social history in open court and said
that counsel could speak to him in the privacy of
chambers. Judge McDonagh then rose for around 15 minutes
before returning to withdraw the case from the jury. The
judge said that matters had arisen in its absence and he
had "no option" but to withdraw the case from it.

The five accused, who have pleaded not guilty to two
counts each of causing damage without lawful excuse to a
naval aircraft, property of the US, have been remanded on
continuing bail until this Friday, when the case will be
mentioned in court.

Judge McDonagh did not respond to questions from The
Irish Times last night about whether he was invited to,
or had attended, the inaugurations.

END TEXT



3. Embassy officials are attempting to get further
information from the GOI and will be reported septel.

KENNY