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Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003, 12:57 pm

Yesterday or the day before, ten people stood in front of a judge convicted of violating a court order preventing them from interfering with the collection of rubbish as part of their protests against the unpopular refuse collection taxes which many people see as another unfair double taxation added to a lengthy list.

They were all facing a fortnight in jail for this but the judge offered them all (as I understand) a suspended sentence if they basically apologised. They refused and are being sent to jail.

Fair enough, you do the crime you do the time and not agreeing with the principles of a court order or law does not invalidate it.

BUT, one of the people going to jail is a breast feeding mother aged 31 who made the plea to the judge that, since she was a breast feeding mother she couldn't go to jail. The judge gave her a week instead and the kid is going to jail with her.

Outrageous? yup.

She had the opportunity to get out of it completly with a simple, insincere apology yet she put her "principles" ahead of the well being of her child - essentially putting a protest that, in the greater scheme of things matters not one bit ahead of her kid's welfare.

The kid is two years old and being breastfed? Either a lie to get out of the sentence or freaky (unless I'm very mistaken and it's normal to breastfeed up to that age) beyond measure.

Not that I'm a fan of the judiciary in this country by any means or measure but I wish the media would cop the fuck on on this one, she was given an out and didn't take it, it was HER decision to take the kid to jail, not the judge's.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 05:28 am (UTC)

1.) At least she told the judge she had a kid who needed to be breastfed. Here in the U.S., a woman was convicted and sent to jail, leaving a child at home in the crib for two weeks. The separated husband went to her house to find the child basically surviving off some very basic foods. The mother told the husband that the child was staying with a neighbor.

2.)It comes down to how important you consider your principles. She apparently believes that she can take care of herself in jail with a kid for a week. In a way, I can respect that. She did not budge on her principles but did plead with the judge on the kid's behalf.

3.) I've heard of kids being breastfed up to that age, yeah.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 05:38 am (UTC)

1) Was evidently more insane than our hero above, though that doesn't make what she's doing any less callous.

2) To me, principles take second place to the well being of a minor in the same way as your own wants take second place to their needs. Bringing a human life into the world is not a responsibility to take lightly (no matter how many people DO take it lightly)
Also, this was not "I won't kill someone" kind of principles, this was "I don't think paying 150 quid a year for refuse collection is fair" kind of principles. I'd feel the same way about people who, for example, refuse to pass a strike picket despite their kids going hungry, no one in my family ever worried more about being called a scab than feeding their kids.

3) Weird

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 06:26 am (UTC)

My agreement with you on your point in 1.) is contingent upon the idea in 2.) where the welfare of the kids are being utterly dismissed. It would be one thing if the woman was a compassionate and conscientious person who happened to be both socially active and yet took care of her kid... and yeah, the I'll agree that 150 quid a year is not something to drag your kid into jail over.

Unless she was super poor anyway. I dunno.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 08:41 am (UTC)

From what I gathered on the news she was a regular joe, not amazingly rich, not terribly poor, I suspect she's affiliated with the socialist party from some sources but I might be wrong.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 05:54 am (UTC)

I've heard of kids being breastfed up to 6 and beyond...personally, I'm disgusted by it. The theory is that a kid can start being weened off from 6 months, when they really get into solid food and can handle supplements and cows milk.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 08:43 am (UTC)

I thought much the same thing, once the kid has teethed then they're ready for solid food and a more regular diet. It's only a guess but I'd imagine most child psychologists would have something to say about developing dependencies in the child.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 08:50 am (UTC)

OK, major point: the issue is not about whether they were prepared to go to jail over €150 bin charges (or whatever the amount is - I think it's a lot more. Having refused to pay, I don't know for sure) - the issue is that the judge wanted to extract a promise from them that would not protest at the bin charges. As in "Give up your democratic right to peaceful protest on this issue. Forever."

My take on the same issue can be read over here. As regards going to jail... well, I'm not paying the charges for several reasons:

1. It's double-taxation, pure and simple. Rates were abolished, taxes were raised to pay for local government services - which most definitely includes bin-collection;
2. Notwithstanding 1., the bills arrive addressed to me - there are three adults living in my house, as the Council damn well know;
3. I'm not going to pay a flat-rate bin-collection charge, which goes against the principle of 'the polluter pays'.
4. Despite 3 letters to the Council over the past 2 years since they started billing us (sorry, me!), they have yet to acknowledge one, let alone answer any.

So... I doubt I'll end up being arrested for protesting. I'll be in work. If I'm brought to court for non-payment... (that is, if they actually bring people from middle-class areas to court) well, I can stall, and ask about my unanswered correspondence, which included an offer to pay for the green recycle bin (seeing as that is a new additional sevice) - but yeah, mortgage, kids, I'll eventually end up paying. But it will leave a very sour taste in my mouth...

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 09:19 am (UTC)

But as you just said, you'll end up paying, you won't abandon the kids for the sake of a fairly minor principle.

I'm not for the charges myself by and means or measure but they'd made their stand and they've just given up a lot, time in jail and a criminal record almost ensures they're not going to get to go to america, australia or god knows where else ever again.

There was a court order in place against what they did, just because a law is unfair or you don't like it it does not give you a right to flaunt it and not expect punishment.

All of your points though are valid but what I'm on about here is the kid who is either
a) being exposed to a prison environment at a young age (and there's every chance it won't make a damned bit of difference to her but I know I wouldn't let it happen)
b) being used in a cynical publicity stunt for the cause.

Neither is the justice system in this country blameless in the slightest, you can beat the living shit out of someone while high as a kite, steal a car do what the hell you want and get nothing more than a suspended sentence, Liam Lawlor commits perjury on a repeated basis and gets a week in jail, to himself, with a laptop, phone and whatever else he wants after years of hogfucking the law every which way he can, a few folks with a bad case of the righteous indignations flaunt a very minor issue of law and get a fortnight.

By that logic we're probably all due some police brutality and five years inside for even talking about this.

All that aside, this is just a "won't somebody please think of the children" thing - which is a rare sentiment for me.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 09:26 am (UTC)

the url for the blog is actually banned here :) I'll try and get a chance to read it later this evening.

Fri, Oct. 10th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC)

All this reminds me of that woman who threw a pie at Ahern and used the fact that she was pregnant to get out of jail free. Now a pie sounds minor but in this country the average shoplifter can sue for a good year's worth of working wage if a security guard so much as puts a hand on their shoulder - assault is, apparantly assault.

If you're going out to willing plan and commit a crime surely you should think of the repercussions of those around you? Some of the guys going to jail will lose a fortnight of pay as a result. Not selling out principles is a fine idea but some perspective might be necessary.