Sunday 17 December 2017

Jobstown trial: Inspector didn't mention accused teen in statement as hundreds around

Protesters during the trial of a 17-year-old for false imprisonment at The Childrens Court in Smithfield, Dublin and inset Joan Burton
Protesters during the trial of a 17-year-old for false imprisonment at The Childrens Court in Smithfield, Dublin and inset Joan Burton

Tom Tuite

A DETECTIVE inspector has told the Jobstown trial that he did not mention the teenage accused in his original statement as there were hundreds of people around.

The 17-year-old boy denies falsely imprisoning the former Tanaiste Joan Burton and her advisor Karen O'Connell in two garda cars during the demonstration at the Fortunestown Road in Jobstown in Tallaght, on Nov. 14, 2014.

The hearing resumed for its third day at the Dublin Children’s Court where Judge John King was shown footage of the Jobstown protest obtained from YouTube, RTE and a garda 4X4 which had been carrying the former Labour leader and her advisor.

Detective Inspector Derek Maguire told Judge King the 17-year-old boy who cannot be named because he is a minor can be seen at various points in the footage.

At one stage he is holding a megaphone and at another he is standing in front of a Garda 4X4, which Joan Burton was in, as the public order unit tried to clear the crowd. He agreed that another man was the first to sit down in front of that vehicle.

He said the defendant appears to be clapping in another part of the footage and is gesturing to the crowd with arm movements.

In cross-examination with Giollaoisa O Lideadha SC, defending, Det Inspector Maguire said he did not mention the teenage defendant in his original statement as there were hundreds of people around at the time.

He agreed that in parts of the footage some protesters were calling on the crowd not to throw things.

The court also heard the teenage defendant may have said into the megaphone at one stage “joany in your ivory tower – this is called people power”.

He agreed that it was a reasonable proposition that when the boy was seen holding his hands up, this was consistent with encouraging others to do the same. He agreed that when the public order unit moved in, the boy had his hands in the air.

He also identified the teen in front of Joan Burton as she walked from An Cosan eduction centre to nearby St Thomas's Church for the conclusion of a graduation ceremony. He accepted that the teenager who was holding a phone was “backing up at this point”.

He did not accept that later on gardai later made an agreement with protesters to let them slow march the garda 4X4 carrying the Tanaiste away.

It was put to him that a Garda superintendent thanked the protesters at that point but the Inspector said the protesters would not co-operate and “dictated” events.

He said gardai had been protecting the two cars from being attacked and they were not in a position to use physical force because they were outnumbered.

On Tuesday he had told the court it was like a “rugby maul” when he tried to escort the then Tanaiste and her advisor through an angry crowd.

The former Labour leader and Minister for Social Protection had been attending a graduation event at 11.30 am at An Cosan adult education centre.

It is alleged trouble broke out and she and her entourage were trapped in cars surrounded by protesters for about three hours. She was struck with a water balloon, had abuse shouted at her and gave evidence that it was not safe to get out garda cars when they were surrounded by protesters who banged on the roof and windows.

Ms O'Connell said someone hit her and she was in a state of shock for some time.

Prosecution barrister Tony McGillicuddy has said that the prosecution case is that the former Tanaiste and her advisor were detained by the actions of the teenage defendant in conjunction with the actions of others.

The trial continues.

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