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Judge denies any bias against Shell protesters


A District Court Judge in Mayo who was asked to disqualify herself from hearing a case involving a Shell to Sea supporter denied she had shown bias against Shell to Sea supporters at previous sittings.

Patrick O'Donnell of Porturlin, Ballina, Co Mayo, who faces charges of assault, obstruction of gardaí and threatening and abusive behaviour for incidents on January 19th, 2007, made the application at yesterday's sitting of Belmullet District Court to disqualify Judge Mary Devins from hearing his case on October 19th.

Mr O'Donnell was sentenced to three months imprisonment by Judge Devins last July. His solicitor, Alan Gannon, said the application was made on two accounts, one of which was an incident that occurred at a sitting of Ballycroy District Court last month, when Judge Devins said that Mr O'Donnell had "eyeballed" her.

However, Judge Devins disagreed she had showed bias and said that if a judge chose to remove themselves from a hearing because of what was written, it would show that the intimidation had been successful. She said that in cases involving Shell to Sea supporters, she had considered all the facts and applied the law, and refused the application.

The court also heard yesterday how two Shell to Sea Supporters locked their arms inside a steel tube which was welded to the underside of a car and blocked traffic going towards the Corrib gas terminal.Stephen Kavanagh (25) of Easkey, Co Sligo, and Terence Conway (48) of Ballina, Co Mayo, both face charges of wilful obstruction, obstruction of traffic, breach of the peace and failure to comply with the instructions of gardaí. Both men denied all the charges.The case was adjourned until the next sitting of Belmullet District Court on November 14th.


Posted Date: 
10 October 2007 - 9:43pm