Sunday 4 December 2016

Seven teenagers in court over Jobstown water protest in which Joan Burton was trapped in her car for two hours

Tom Tuite

Published 29/10/2015 | 13:19

Joan Burton (inset) the children's court
Joan Burton (inset) the children's court

SEVEN youths ranging in ages from 14 to 18 years are facing trial on charges connected to the Jobstown water protest last November during which Tanaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for over two hours.

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The youths, who could all face custodial sentences, had their cases adjourned until later dates and a guilty plea was entered by just one of them to a charge of criminal damage and violent disorder.

The Dublin Children's Court heard he was already serving a sentence for earlier offences and he had behavioural and drug problems, and was deemed to be at a high risk of re-offending as a result of his issues.

About a hundred people turned up at the courthouse to offer support to the teenagers.

The Labour leader left a graduation ceremony on November 15 last at An Cosan in Jobstown, in Tallaght - an education facility that serves the local community - when demonstration was held.

Gardai allege protesters tried to “get at” the Labour leader and there were a number of violent incidents at the protest, with officers pushed and missiles thrown.

Several adults, including Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy are due to appear in court next week in connection with the incident.

However, today seven youths ranging in ages from 14 to 18 appeared at Dublin Children's Court facing a variety of charges including violent disorder, criminal damage and false imprisonment charges arising out of the alleged incident at Fortunestown Rd, Jobstown, in Tallaght.

The young males who all come from the Tallaght area and had been served with summons in July compelling them to appear in court today.

Three of them are aged 16, there is one 15-year-old and one aged 17, an 18-year-old and he youngest who is aged 14 but who was 13 at the time. The prosecution has been brought by Tallaght Garda Superintendent Peter Duff and an outline of the allegations was given by Det Gda Paul Smith.

Six of them, including the 14-year-old boy, are charged with violent disorder by using or threatening to use unlawful violence causing others to fear for their safety.

Two of the 16-year-old boys and the 18-year-old youth also have an additional charge for criminal damage to  window of a '05-reg unmarked Garda car. The court heard it was smashed during alleged disturbances.

Another 16-year-old faces two charges for false imprisonment of Tanaiste Joan and her political advisor Karen O'Connell who were in a ministerial car which was surrounded by protesters.

Judge John O'Connor heard that the 16-year-old boy who pleaded guilty to criminal damage and violent disorder, initially wanted his case finalised today but the judge noted that the latest welfare reports on him were negative.

His solicitor Michelle Finan said the boy regrets his involvement in the incident.

She later confirmed that the teen agreed to an adjournment until November 26th for updated reports to be furnished. He is serving a custodial sentence, which is due to expire in January, for theft offences.

The DPP has recommended that the remaining five juveniles should be tried in the Children's Court and not in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

However, Judge John O'Connor said that a preliminary hearing would have to take place to establish if the Children's Court would accept jurisdiction. These teens, who were also accompanied to court by their lawyers and parents, were ordered to appear again in December.

The 18-year-old, Calvin Carlyle, from Gleann na hEorna, Tallaght, is now an adult and could not attend.
His mother explained that he was unwell and Judge O'Connor ordered him to appear next week.

State solicitor Rachel Joyce said the DPP has directed that, unlike the juveniles, he should be tried in the circuit court.

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