When Slugger noted this case, I pointed to the Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun’s comment – “Regardless of the details of this case the deciding factor in whether or not this young woman found herself before the courts appears to be that she is an Irish speaker.” [added emphasis] Today the magistrate in the case ruled against the defendant, and fined her £100, but an appeal – “If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights I will go there.” – is on the cards.. natch..From the PA report
But in her ruling Magistrate Fiona Bagnall said the defendant had taken a substantial amount of alcohol on the night.
She accepted that Nic An Bharid shouting in Irish was not a reason in itself to be arrested for disorderly behaviour.
And even though the magistrate said defence witnesses appeared to have given truthful accounts she added that the accuracy of their recollection may have been distorted because of their distance from the defendant.
All police witnesses have been consistent in their accounts of what happened, Ms Bagnall told the court.
She said: “I`m satisfied that the defendant continued to address police officers in a loud and aggressive manner.
“I therefore find her guilty of disorderly behaviour.”
Lawyers for Nic An Bhaird, from west Belfast where she teaches, confirmed that their client planned to appeal the ruling.
Outside court Nic An Bhaird added : “The way I was treated in the police station was like something from the dark ages.
“If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights I will go there.
“I don`t care how many years it takes until justice is done. I have no confidence in the British justice system.”
And Bairbre de Brun’s comments..
Ms de Brun who taught the defendant during her Irish schooling, said: “I`m both astonished and angry at the judgment.
“The feeling right across this island is that this case has become a symbol of official hostility to the Irish language and to Irish speakers by the authorities here in the North.”
Not quite “right across this island”, actually..