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Environmentalists to show evidence of 'lawful excuse' in Irish crop sabotage case (fwd)





---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 21:34:50 +0000
From: jim mcnulty <jim@niall7.demon.co.uk>






 Environmentalists to show evidence of `lawful excuse' in crop sabotage
case

The Irish Times

 Seven environmentalists charged in the first Irish case of sabotaging a
genetically modified crop will be producing evidence of "lawful excuse",
their solicitor has told New Ross District Court. 

 When the case came before the court yesterday defending solicitor Mr
David Bulbulia said it related to alleged sabotage of a GM sugar beet crop
in Arthurstown, Co Wexford, last year and was a complex one, which
warranted at least a two-day hearing. 

 Section 6 of the Criminal Damage Act provided a definition of damage
"without lawful excuse", but he would be producing evidence of lawful
excuse. 

 To make this case, he added, expert witnesses would be required.

 Before the court were Mr John Seymour (84), organic farmer and food
writer, Killowen, New Ross; Mr Gavin Harte (33), environmentalist,
Grantham Street, Dublin;  Caomhin Woods (33), a freelance journalist, 39
Cluain Aoibheinn, Maynooth, Co Kildare; Mr Pauric Cannon (57), secretary
of Dublin Food Co-op, Captain's Road, Crumlin, Dublin; Mr David Philip
(34), environmentalist, Sackville Gardens, Dublin; Ms Adrienne Murphy
(30), environmentalist and writer with Hot Press magazine, Wilton Place,
Dublin; and Mr Richard Roche (50), publican, The Quay, New Ross. 

 The case related to damage totalling (pounds) 16,000 alleged to have been
caused on June 21st last at the farm of Mr Martin Foley of Coleman,
Arthurstown, who was conducting a GM sugar beet trial on behalf of the US
multinational company [ Monsanto ] . 

 The seven were charged with damaging "without lawful excuse sugar beet
belonging to Monsanto (Ireland) Limited, intending to damage such property
or being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged" under the
1991 Criminal Damage Act. 

 They were also charged with forcible entry of a sugar beet trial site,
the property of Monsanto Ireland, under the 1971 Prohibition of Forcible
Entry and Occupation Act. 

 Insp John Cassells, prosecuting, told the court that early yesterday the
DPP had requested that two minor amendments be made to the charges. 

 The amended charges were read by Sgt Bartholomew Slattery, the effect of
which was to delete the term "genetically modified" from the original
charges. 

 Mr Bulbulia said he had no objection to the amendments.

 He told Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla that based on documents in court he
anticipated 10 prosecution witnesses would be called. 

 Judge O Buachalla set March 30th and 31st for the hearing, and instructed
Mr Bulbulia to furnish any documentation he believed should be considered
in advance of the hearing to the State.