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Protester given ‘unconditional’ suspended sentence

A CIRCUIT Court Judge was affirmed the order of the District Court regarding sentences imposed on a Shell to Sea protester but suspended the custodial sentences unconditionally.
Maura Harrington  (pictured) of Doohoma, Belmullet appeared before Ballina Circuit Court to await the decision of Judge Raymond Groarke who had adjourned sentencing for 12 months. Ms Harrington had appealed a number of convictions which were imposed in Belmullet District Court and these appeals were heard in February 2010.
The offences included using her car to block the entrance to the Shell compound during a protest on August 30, 2008; dangerous driving at Ballycastle on July 3, 2008; trespassing with intent at Glengad on June 19, 2008; and using a scissors to criminally damage netting at Glengad on April 10th, 2009.
She had been sentenced to nine months imprisonment in relation to the cutting of the nets at Glengad and three months for trespassing.  The dangerous driving charge was reduced to careless and the trespass and criminal damage convictions were appealed on severity only.
At the time Judge Groarke disqualified her from driving for two years and fined her €200 but adjourned all sentencing for 12 months while ordering Ms Harrington to give an undertaking not to obstruct work carried out by Shell or obstruct its employees.
At last weeks sitting, Mr Hugh Sheridan, solicitor representing the prosecution said that Ms Harrington had complied to the undertakings and there had been no breach of the court order.
Judge Groarke also refused a request by Mr Leo Mulrooney, BL for the defendant to hear evidence from two character witnesses.
In his ruling Judge Groarke said this was a difficult case 12 months ago and remains a difficult case but affirmed the order of the District Court but suspended the sentences in each case and would do so ‘unconditionally’.

Posted Date: 
6 April 2011