As many will know from RTE and other media, Shell to Sea protestor Pat O' Donnell was convicted this week of obstructing, threatening and abusing Gardai who are policing the Shell work in Erris.
RTÉ News: Campaigner jailed over Corrib protest
The judge called him a "bully" and a "thug" (it has often been said that name-calling by officialdom is an early warning sign of fascism in a society).
Now, I don't know much about the incidents for which O' Donnell was charged. Quite possibly he acted wrongly, and if so fair enough. But what I do know is that the Gardai are very selective about which incidents they bring to court and judges are equally selective about what evidence they will credit. For example, a previous case in which O' Donnell was charged with assault
Belmullet District Court Report - Shell to Sea ‘3’ Accused. - Indymedia Ireland
was brought by a Garda who ignored O' Donnell's own claim that he had been assaulted by a Garda:
"Sergeant Dermot Butler gave evidence by reading a written account of an interview where he and Garda Gary Walsh had questioned Pat O’Donnell in the video interview room. Sgt Butler said that “he had become aware of the Sgt Glennon incident” and took responsibility for its investigation. Mr Gannon, defence solicitor, felt it was important for the judge to see the full interview on video as Sgt. Butler’s account of it differed materially from the video. As well as showing verbal abuse by Sgt Butler on the tape which was not recorded in the written account, where Sgt Butler called Mr'O'Donnell "a liar and a f...ing liar", there were also questions raised as to the legality of the continued detention of Mr O’Donnell for questioning, the procedure by which the interview was conducted, and an allegation by Mr O’Donnell on tape that he had been punched in the chin by Sergeant James Gill at the time of the alleged incident. Sgt Butler was questioned as to why he had not investigated that incident after hearing complaint of it from Mr O’Donnell, but instead chose to investigate the Sgt Glennon incident when no complaint had been made to him by Sgt. Glennon himself. Mr Gannon pointed out that a Sergeant has ‘unique investigative powers’ and when Mr O’Donnell gave him information of his assault, then Sgt Butler was duty bound to investigate it. As Sgt Butler persisted in avoiding many questions in this regard, Mr Gannon asked him “What were you thinking at the time Sgt Butler”. “I didn’t think anything” was Sgt Butler’s reply."
We are seeing, again and again in relation to the Corrib issue, that judges will accept Garda evidence every time and that members of the Shell to Sea movement are being selectively charged and imprisoned to remove their influential presence from the area.