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Minutes from Court

Day 3: Wednesday, 15th

Also have a look at this Report of the Swiss television where Martin is making a point (click at video streaming).

Supporters of Gesine Wenzel and Martin Shaw were refused entry to the court building this morning despite the near freezing temperatures and were told to ‘fuck of’ in the process by police. The first witness in the case- a police officer thanked Poget for his work during the G8 summit – these two events set the tone for the day…

The second witness Mrs. Poget testified for her husband declaring that he was a ‘gendarme (policeman) to the bottom of his heart, a very committed man and a perfectionist who would never disobey an order and a man who has much heart’.
In his summing up the lawyer for Martin and Gesine, Mr. Garbade, stressed the many errors of the two police officers. He recalled the fact that despite some of the denials of the police during their testimonies the video had repeatedly shown the reality of the police actions. And whilst immediate psychological help was set up for Deiss (the officer that cut the rope) the Swiss state had offered nothing to Gesine and Martin or others who were on the bridge and witnessed the event.

He added that Deiss and his superior Poget had failed to assume their responsibilities for the security of the motorway and reacted in an aggressive and highly dangerous fashion on the bridge.

The lawyerGarbade also pointed out the refusal to take the case by the Swiss state and the examining magistrate, who refused to hear demonstrators as legitimate witnesses. Additionally Garbade pointed to the spontaneous reactions of the police on the scene which saw a situation that was under control descend in to chaos upon the arrival of Poget and Deiss, including the disobeying of orders (their only orders were to assess the situation). The testimony of officer K (who testified on the second day of the trial) showed that it was entirely possible to communicate with protestors on the bridge. The criminal charge of negligence seems completely relevant for an officer who required more than 12 minutes calling an ambulance (we are not even sure that it is him that telephoned!).

The prosecution in his summing up dropped the arguments against the police officer preferring to focus his efforts in discrediting the protestors. He began his speech by arguing that there was no such thing as impunity for officers stating that police officers were treated the same as the public. He added that the events of the G8 protests that morning meant that the police were incredibly stressed when they arrived on the bridge and this affected their actions. The ‘prosecution’ supported Deiss by saying that a large banner which Deiss ripped up such as “Stop, if you do not you will kill two people’ was incomprehensible due to the stress of the situation.

Best quotes of Wednesday, 15th

«Mr. Poget has a particular rapport with the highway, (…). How could they touch my highway ? … Poget is born on the highway that Obelix fell into the magic potion »
Podget’s lawyer

« (…) We were told that he (Poget) could have thought … Do you think than in such a situation you are able to think ? »
Poget’s lawyer

« I feel closer to the ideas of anti-globalisation than the ideas of the American President Bush »
Deiss’ lawyer

« When there’s no chief there is always a certain tendency to anarchy »
Poget’s lawyer

« Claude, we all would have done the same as you did »
Poget’s lawyer is quoting the policemen (high-ranking or not) who were in the court, witnesses or not.

« Justice does not support people who are building their chalet in the passage of an avalanche» Poget’s lawyer, quoting one of his collegues

« Mr Poget will soon retire (…) he must be bleached by the court »
Poget’s lawyer

Day 2: Tuesday, 14th

Today further testimonies from six other police officers who were involved with the operation on aubonne bridge including the current senior officer of Deiss and an activist doctor who was also on the bridge during the action and was one of the first people to reach Martin.

The officers spoke about the level of organisation ( or lack of ) on the bridge that day . The scandalous incompetence of the units involved was revealed by the testimonies of high ranking officers. The senior officer Poget was described as “spontaneous and impulsive" and seems not to have taken into account the orders of his superiors.
Having arrived on the spot, he exceeded the orders of his superior who had sent him to make a report of the situation and to communicate it to the headquarters. By his "spontaneous" act of ordering and assisting in the physical removal of the first blockade before the rope blockade he endangered the motorists, the demonstrators and the police forces involved.

His two superiors denied to have given orders to Poget after he arrived on the bridge. But with whom did he thus speak? He answered that he never knew whether he spoke to telephone operators or to his superiors. As the day before the questions and testimonies focused on the problems of language comprehension of the police force. But the central questions still remains as to why Poget did not feel it necessary to inform junior officers on the bridge about the situation

The testimonies reinforce a key part of the argument against the officers, that the regulations and safety measures that were drawn up and meant to be put in place by the time of the G8 where totally ineffective.
- A legal document which police forces in Switzerland are supposed to adhere to was by and large ignored during the aubonne bridge operation. The document underlines that police cannot make individual decisions on the spot and that the priority of any situation
In a demonstration is the maintenance of safety.

The lawyer for the ‘general defence’ (a lawyer who is meant to represent the state, so there for in this case against the police officers) repeatedly alleged that the incompetence of the police officers due to the fact they had never seen any action lie this before was justification for their actions

The prosecution lawyer Garbade also alleged that the police claim the ambulance arrived 11.17 when in fact the ambulance arrived at 11, 29 some 12 minutes after the cord was cut.
The contradictions of the police and biased behaviour of the court officials have set the tome for the case which is supposed to hold the police to account but is turning into an attempt to discredit the activists on the bridge.

Day 1: Monday, 13th

Most of the officers testified that they were not able to hear their radios during the entire time. This was because either the motor of the police car was too loud, or things were too chaotic, and it was clear that there was no functioning method of communcation between the police on the scene prior to and during the cutting of the rope.

Deiss stuck to his incredible story, he didn’t know we were hanging and just thought it was “instinctive” to cut the rope in front of him without first asking his senior officer. Neither did he think to ask the officer 1m away who was going to great effort to hold the rope up. He said that he wanted to open the road because the G8 convoy were coming and their order (the ones they bother to obey) were to get the convoy through on the main road.

Poget`s story for creating the situation that lead to the rope being cut was equally straightforward and instintual. He opened the road within 5 seconds of arriving when he broke the first security banner. From then on he attacks a cameraperson, and says several times that he doesn’t care if the activists hurt themselves or if they break their knecks. Poget, just after the rope was cut, went on to say “arrest this mafia shit” refering to people on the bridge – who were all suffering from a very traumatic incident. He was good to his word and did nothing to help the climbers who were either smashed in a river bed or hanging from a cut rope for at least 30 minutes in a traumatising situation.

The questions became far more aggressise and rigerious against the indymedia activist and the police spokes person from the activist side. What was regarded as “normal lawyer behaviour” included non-relevant questions of the activist witnesses clearly intended to intimidate and discredit. Their lawyers did not seem to accept the fact that the activist group had no leader, for example.

The trial today, Monday, continued until nearly 7pm, and will begin again tomorrow, Tuesday morning at 8:30am.