Irish Water Protester Possible Landmark Court Case In June 2015

   Stephen Bennett will he get justice this time?


Stephen Bennett will he get justice this time?

Date set for Court Case

Stephen Bennett a political activist from Pearse Green Sallynoggin, Dublin is to stand trial in the Dublin District Court on June 17, 2015 by order of Judge Anthony Halpin .  (see Irish Times, April 7, 2015).  He has been charged under the Water Services Act 2007, for obstructing the company exercising its powers on October 21, 2014 at Villa Park Gardens, Dublin 7.  The case can result in a €5000 fine as well as a possible 3 months in jail. 

Case Ongoing Since December 2014 Could Set Precedent

This case has been ongoing since December 10, 2014  when Judge Halpin  heard directions from the Director of Public Prosecution as to whether the case should be dealt with at district court level or go to the circuit.  If it went to the circuit court there would be a maximum fine 0f €15m or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.    The defense solicitor, at the time Stephen O'Mahony sought a court order to preserve any possible video footage contained on cameras belonging to Irish Water workers.  Judge Halpin agreed to the request.  The defence solicitor described the case as a test case which raised  a lot of constitutional arguments and said that the case may open the floodgates further down the line.  Judge Halpin said the complexity and magnitude of the case may necessitate engagement of counsel and he agreed to Mr O'Mahony's legal aid request.  ( Irish Times December 10, 2014 )

 

An earlier and separate court case struck out

On March 2015,   Judge Halpin acceded to Mr Bennett's solicitor Cahir O'Higgin's request to strike out the case against Stephen Bennett for obstructing Irish Water on November 4, 2014 at Villa Park Gardens, Cabra, Dublin  The case was struck out because the state failed to disclose CCTV evidence which the judge had previously directed them to hand over.  ( Sunday World March 25, 2015 )

 

 

Stephen Bennett with daughter Saoirse and friends during many campaigns including No Water Charges, Activist at Act For Palestine, Occupy Dame Street and Occupy the Dail going back to 2012