Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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Irish Courts - ‘Statutory Independence’ or a Licence to Lie?
crime and justice |
Monday May 01, 2017 21:15 by 1 of indy
plus the ongoing prosecution of Colm & Stephen
This is opinion & analysis piece comes from Integrity Ireland who are attempting to fight corruption in the legal system and face an uphill struggle in their task and this piece illustrates well what they are up against.
Well, it has been an interesting few weeks again, with reports of increasingly odd and bizarre ‘developments’ – especially regarding decisions being made by Gardaí, by Courts Service Staff and by senior personnel at the DPP’s Office.
First of all, the release of the Fennelly Report demonstrates again, that all of these so-called ‘statutory enquiries’ and ‘tribunals of investigation’ are – as the Irish Examiner says – just exercises in damage control and political expediency. The fact that Gardaí were willing to ‘doctor’ written statements and suppress or invent evidence in the Ian Baliey case is described by Judge Niall Fenelly merely as ‘improper conduct’! That is an astonishing understatement when someone’s life – or even a life sentence – is on the line. One wonders if Judge Fenellly would have called it mere ‘misconduct’ if he himself was the subject of falsified Garda evidence that could put himself or one of his family in jail for life?
Then there’s the Charletown Commission – looking into the Maurice McCabe scandal and the allegations that senior Gardai orchestrated a vicious sex-smear campaign against one of their own colleagues – whose ONLY crime was to try to do his job right. So, what’s happened to all of the media interest in THAT disturbing story? Our proofs and evidence of similar cases and tactics by Gardaí and TUSLA have been rejected by the Charleton Commission... because apparently, that doesn’t come within their remit!?
So what IS the remit in all of these tribunals and investigations? Well, it seems that ‘the establishment’ has long since worked out that as soon as a scandal hits the headlines, they need only announce the setting-up of some ‘independent statutory enquiry’ while they wait for the dust to settle and for the public to lose interest. That’s why it’s nearly always ‘retired judges’ and the like (who were politically appointed in the first place) who are chosen for these tasks, and that’s also why our offers that qualified Integrity Ireland personnel will do these investigations for free... are repeatedly refused or ignored. Because the very LAST thing the Government wants is for these enquiries and tribunals to expose the unvarnished truth. Oh no – anything but THAT!
The same theme recurs in other institutions of the State. The whole system has been set up to protect the interests of the ‘connected elite’ (and those who abjectly serve them) at the great and everlasting expense of the rest of us, and woe-betide anyone who challenges the status quo. Lies, deceptions and exploitation of the public is the norm, with the various public relations departments, ‘special advisers’ and the like, feeding contrived titbits to the mainstream media; their casual, often-unwitting partners in the great, big lie! The targeting of protesters, activists, whistleblowers and outspoken journalists is now a documented fact – NOT a conspiracy theory. And unfortunately, the more we have dealings with our Courts system – the more of the same types of collusion, corruption and criminal cover-ups we expose. Secrecy, lies, deceptions, perjury, forgery, and out-of-control judges who have nothing to fear from a system that does NOT hold them accountable – even for the most outrageously unlawful and unconstitutional behaviour. Our judges sit at the top of the moral and legal spectrum in this country – and if THEY can’t be trusted to adhere to even the most minimal levels of honesty and integrity – then what hope is there for the rest of us?
Meanwhile, the farce in Castlebar Courthouse continues with Colm Granahan’s conviction (while he was on the operating table) being ‘vacated’ by Judge Aeneas McCarthy on the grounds that Colm could prove that he was in hospital when Judge McCarthy declared him ‘guilty in his absence’ from a hearing which we hadn’t even been notified of. Well, I was able to prove that I was in the Supreme Court that day – but apparently that doesn’t matter, and so I still have a 2-months prison sentence hanging over my head – with the case continuing under appeal in the Circuit Court next week – overseen by Judge Sean O’Donnahain from Cork. Apparently, even though we were refused separate trials in the first place, we are now going to be tried separately starting with me on Tuesday, and Colm in October. The fact that we have uncovered even more proofs that the High Court, the Courts Service AND the DPP’s Office knew in advance that we were going to be convicted in January doesn’t seem to matter either! So – what happened to the supposed ‘independence’ of the DPP’s Office and the Judiciary? And why isn’t anyone in authority responding to our complaints? Not the Justice Minister, not the DPP’s Office, and not even the Guards – who are also refusing to release my Garda records. Worse still is the cynical pretence at ‘due process’ while the Courts Service repeatedly denies me access to my own case files – and judges refuse to process legal aid applications.
And this brings us to yet another remarkable development, with Mayo State Prosecutor Vincent Deane suddenly being replaced by Mr Raymond Briscoe, the Deputy-Director of Superior Court Operations at the Office of the DPP. We don’t know for sure how much time and money has already been squandered on this trial already, but the arrival of Mr Briscoe is surely going to up the bill. It was surprising enough that a person of such obvious ambition didn’t used his full title on the paperwork – but then again, that might raise questions as to why the Deputy-Director of Superior Court Operations at the Office of the DPP was getting involved in a silly little ‘Section 6’ public order case in Co. Mayo? Somehow, Mr Briscoe knew in advance to be present on the morning of January 24th in Castlebar to replace the now absent Mr Deane – not to mention Mr Briscoe’s impressive clairvoyancy skills in also knowing that we were due in Belmullet Court on April 12th to secure criminal summonses against 3 State witnesses for conspiring to pervert justice. His threatening letter arrived the day before warning me that taking these lawful ‘common informer’ actions ‘could be construed’ as interfering with witnesses. This is just the latest in a series of increasingly desperate attempts to stop the public holding errant authority figures to account. The fact that Judge Gerard Haughton (who was personally scheduled to process those applications) also failed to turn up that day in Belmullet should also be raising a few eyebrows. Oh well, if WE don’t have the time to issue those summonses right now, then there’s nothing stopping any other concerned member of the public from doing so... So if you’d like to do your part for the cause... please feel free to contact us..
Our efforts to move our appeals through the Supreme Court have also been thwarted and obstructed at every twist and turn these past three months – but finally, we now have appeal record numbers, and win-or-lose, we are now basically in a position to take matters to the European Courts. It is supposed to be ‘standard procedure’ to have all Supreme Court appeal documents listed on the Courts Service website – but apparently, not for our documents! Just like our common informer prosecutions which are NOT listed anywhere in public – not even on the Courts Service website or on the doors of the Courtroom themselves, it seems that secrecy is the order of the day when it comes to anything that might expose the rot in the system and embarrass those who are responsible. But then again, we have to remember that the Courts Service itself is a business, first-and-foremost, and that 10 of the 18 Board Members are sitting judges, with the rest of the Board being Government appointees. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right that judges would be part of the executive of a profit-making business that relies largely on public funds and judicial decisions regarding fines and penalties dished out to ordinary people. But then again, the more we discover about our so-called ‘justice system’ the more we uncover the stark and disturbing contradictions and discrepancies at its highly secretive core.
Other incidents continue to raise grave concerns as to the probity of Courts Service operations, with ACT member Joe Doocey having his legitimate applications refused at Ballina Courthouse – apparently on the instructions of Peter Mooney – the same Courts Service Manager who refused to deal with my paperwork, and who has already been PROVEN to be complicit in a criminal conspiracy where the forging of documents, the backdating of hearings and the erasure of key evidence are all just par for the course.. It’s all so very easy for ‘them’ to doctor evidence and craft Court proceedings any way they wish, when we – the unwitting public – have no original access to Court files or recordings, and where recording in the Court is ‘strictly forbidden’ since Judge Raymond Groarke imposed this rule in 2013. But we should note that it is a Courts Service RULE – and NOT a law. Given the amount of evidence of wilful interference in Court recordings, transcripts and written Orders, it would also seem that this ‘no-recording’ rule in Court is also unconstitutional.
For example, we now have 2 different DAR recordings from the Courts Service – both from the same day in 2015! I will be asking again on Tuesday for the release of the full, unedited DAR. Who knows, maybe this time we might actually get it. And just in case anyone was wondering – yes, we ARE still looking for legal support – and NO – no-one has yet responded to our pleas for an honest, courageous solicitor who is not afraid to take on the establishment.
Finally, a bit of good news: on Friday last I attended Castlebar Court to answer a speeding charge. I told the visiting Judge that I believed this to be part of a ‘targeted campaign’ because of my work with Integrity Ireland and that it followed six vexatious traffic summons that were all eventually thrown out. The Judge then struck out the case despite the Prosecutor’s protests. Also, a respected foreign journalist has picked up on the Integrity Ireland story and is composing an article which we hope will be taken up by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, he couldn’t secure any responses whatsoever from the Press Office at the Ministry for Justice! I have said it many, many times and have notified ALL of the statutory authorities in writing: I will not be knowingly complicit in unlawful or criminal activity – and as far as I am concerned, that’s exactly what’s going on in Castlebar in the case against myself and Colm...
When ‘the authorities’ – and especially those who are entrusted with the running of our justice system – prove to be such unconscionable rogues and scoundrels, then it is the duty of any decent, law-abiding person – or indeed, of any moral person, to stand up and denounce what is happening. On Tuesday May 2nd next, in Castlebar Circuit Court, that’s exactly what I intend to do. If that means I am sent to jail – then so be it! Better that, with my dignity intact, than to pander to the vagaries of a so-called justice system, run by so many tricksters, tyrants, thugs and thieves – who rely on bullying and intimidation, and on lies and contrivances, to suppress and deceive the Irish people. Judges swear a solemn oath when they come into office. We will be asking the Judge on Tuesday to abide strictly by that oath.
“One by one – together – we CAN make a difference!”