Saturday, June 19, 2010

Case adjourned, again!

With Ark's hearing not listed on Thursday, it was left until Friday before a ruling was made on the CFMEU's day 1 argument that the ABCC staff member who laid the charges against Ark Tribe was not authorised to do so and as such charges should be dropped.

With hundreds gathering outside the magistrates court in the centre of Adelaide, the mood as buoyant; there was a feeling that this might be it, that the charges would be dropped and Ark would be able to get back to a normal life and back on the job.

Sadly, it wasn't to be. Magistrate David Whittle found that the ABCC assistant commissioner, John Draffin, was entitled to lay the complaint against Tribe and that the trial would continue. CFMEU State Secretary Martin O'Malley emerged at around 10.30am, closely followed by the union's National Secretary, Dave Noonan. They told Ark's supporters and the assembled media that the trial was to proceed and that Ark had plead not guilty to the charges.

As he did on day one of the trial, Noonan threw down the gauntlet: "If Ark Tribe is jailed, the CFMEU will take action right around the country". Mr Noonan also sent a warning to the ABCC and to employers, some of whom had threatened to sack workers for turning up to the court to support Ark Tribe.

"Construction workers will not be intimidated by those sort of threats. We will not be held down by employers who want to hide behind these draconian powers. Ark is our friend, he's our comrade, he's one of us and we will be here for him as long as it takes and as hard as it gets."

The support for Ark Tribe from the trade union movement and the wider community has been building since his case first came to light. The CFMEU National Secretary told workers it must continue.

"All of us need to know that Ark is walking in our shoes, he cannot walk alone and this law cannot be allowed to stand," Noonan said.

With much time taken up deliberating on the CFMEU's attempt to have the charges dropped, the case was destined to be adjourned to a later date. Later on Friday afternoon, Magistrate Whittle set down July 21 and 22 for the continuation of the trial.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 2: Message from Rights on Site team.

It was lawyers at twenty paces in in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this afternoon - but it didn't last long.

Ark's barrister argued that the case brought by the ABCC was invalid. The Magistrate then called for written submissions from both sides.

The Court sat again today. Then his Honour let us know that he needed more time to consider the submissions. The long and the short of it is that we'll be back at 10am (Adelaide time) on Friday 18 June and the Magistrate will rule on the first argument.

A frustrating but necessary process. We hope to have some good news to report Friday morning.

Thanks for all your support!

Dave Noonan and the Rights on Site Team

Ark Tribe Trial: Day 1

Across the country, thousands rallied in support of Ark Tribe yesterday.

Thank you for your support.

Inside the Adelaide Magistrate's court, lawyers began their defence of Ark Tribe, a normal construction worker accused of nothing more than failing to attend an interrogation by the Construction Star Chamber for the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Ark's lawyers argued that the ABCC had not correctly begun the prosecution - because the person authorising the prosecution did not have the power to do so. As a result they said the charges should be thrown out.

Lawyers for the Commonwealth DPP contested the argument and the magistrate moved for an adjournment. Both sides will now make written submissions on the matter, with the court reconvening today, Wednesday 16th June at 2pm.

It is expected that the magistrate will today make a determination on this particular issue. If the arguments of Ark's lawyers are upheld, the case will end. If not, it will continue with both sides making arguments on substantive issues.

Workers, members of the broader community and unionists, were out in force outside and inside the court in support of Ark and against the ABCC. If Ark goes in, construction workers across the country will go out.

Come to Victoria Square at 1.30pm today to show your solidarity with Ark as his trial enters Day 2.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Support Ark Tribe this Tuesday, June 15th

In five days time construction worker Ark Tribe will face judgement at the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Ark may be the first rank and file worker jailed for standing up against the undemocratic and coercive powers of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) and he needs our support.

Join hundreds of supporters, including Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, at the Ark Tribe Embassy at Victoria Square at 8.15am on Tuesday morning, June 15th, 2010.

Bring placards, banners, friends and workmates as Ark Tribe stands tall for the workers of Australia.

Lawyer Stephen Dolphin and others talk about Ark's case

Follow this link for the latest video in the Ark Tribe campaign.