Wednesday, October 24, 2007

McDonald beats trespass charge, claims ‘victory for workers’

The anti-worker and anti-union laws that the Howard Government is using to try and crush workers and their representatives (see also second post below) was dealt a telling blow in the Perth Magistrates Court this morning.
This is cause for great rejoicing and celebration.
The working class will be around long after Howard and his ruling class are consigned to the dustbin of history.
It is an even greater victory, as Howard has featured McDonald in a series of anti-ALP electoral ads, claiming that if the Labor Party wins office, McDonald "will be back".
The truth is that so long as Joe genuinely represents the interests of his CFMEU members, and the working class more broadly, he will always be around regardless of the fortunes of the capitalist ALP.
A press report from The West Australian follows:
25th October 2007, 10:45 WST

Trade union heavyweight Joe McDonald was this morning found not guilty of trespassing without lawful excuse in first of six trespass trials, with the assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union of WA labelling his acquittal a “victory for workers” outside the court.

Magistrate Joe Randazzo handed down his ruling in the Perth Magistrate’s Court after hearing evidence on Tuesday, saying in his decision that although Mr McDonald was “slow moving” after being asked to leave a Doric Construction building site in Joondalup in February, he had not been there without lawful excuse and his conduct had been “reasonable”.

His trial was told Doric site manager Jim Kemp warned McDonald he was trespassing after he entered through an exit gate, on February 19 this year.

McDonald testified he had replied to his friend, “Jimmy, what makes a man turn dog?,” referring to the former union member’s job with the construction company.”

Mr Randazzo said there were no aggravating factors or actions of aggression and McDonald had been there in a union capacity, discussing safety issues with workers.

The magistrate noted Mr McDonald had been on the site a “very short duration”, which the court had been told was 13 minutes, was “well received” by some workers and had not hindered or interfered with work on the site.

Mr McDonald was awarded $2500 costs but still faces the prospect of a civil action for the same incident. He also faces five more trials in the Perth Magistrate’s Court relating to alleged trespasses on other Perth worksites between February and April.

Outside court, Mr McDonald vowed that the CFMEU would continue its protection of workers, for whom this case was a victory.

“It’s good to see that every time I sneeze it’s not a crime. This has been a victory for workers in Western Australia. The CFMEU will continue to service workers when they are getting robbed by unscrupulous bosses and where they are being forced to work in unsafe conditions,” he said.

The Liberal Party today launched a new ad attacking Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s failure to have McDonald expelled from the Labor Party over thuggery claims.

McDonald said he had not seen the ad.

“John’s (Howard) gone, you know that, I’ll be back.”


1 comment:

Chris said...

UPDATE - This blog needs to updated as on appeal, he WAS found to have trespassed on the property after all. He was found NOT to have a lawful excuse and the Court of Appeal found the Magistrate had erred in interpreting s.70A