Irish Republican News · August 7, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
RIRA ruling puts pressure on non-jury system

Calls were made last night for an overhaul of the 26-County justice following a ruliong by the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin ruled that the conviction of five men charged with Real IRA membership may be unsafe.

The three judge appeal court panel found that the men’s original conviction wasn’t sound after it emerged that three judges at their original non-jury Special Criminal Court trial viewed garda files belonging to the accused.

The men were subsequently released last Thursday.

Limerick-based lawyer John Devane has spoken out against the current state of the Irish justice system and called for the Offences Against the State Act to be axed.

A controversial amendment to the act made in 1998 allows people to be convicted of serious offences simply on the word of senior garda officers.

“If you are determining the guilt or otherwise of someone you do it based on the facts before you, not on how big a police file a person might have,” he said.

“The appeal judges agreed with this and believe the original decision is unsafe. Juries don’t get to look at someone’s file prior to judgment so why should a judge?

“People should be found guilty or innocent based on the facts. These men should not have been found guilty based on three seconds of video clip.

“Some people try to dismiss what I say by claiming I’m a republican supporter but I am a solicitor in this country and three judges agree with me.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News