Sunday 26 January 2020

Teen found guilty of falsely imprisoning Burton

Joan Burton Photo: Tom Burke
Joan Burton Photo: Tom Burke

Tom Tuite

A teenager found guilty of false imprisonment of Joan Burton during the Jobstown protest will avoid a criminal record if he does not reoffend.

The youth (17) denied falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste and her adviser Karen O'Connell, who were trapped in two Garda cars for three hours during the demonstration at the Fortunestown Road in Dublin on November 15, 2014. He was aged 15 at the time of the protest.

Ms Burton had been at a graduation ceremony at An Cosán education centre when the protest took place outside. She told the court earlier she was frightened, and did not think she could leave the cars as they were surrounded by people shouting abuse and banging on windows.

Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy described the verdict as an "assault on civil liberties and the right to protest".

"This young man has had this hanging over him for almost two years while he completed his Leaving Certificate and started college," he said.

The teen's trial at the Dublin Children's Court had resumed for Judge John King to decide if he was going to throw the case out. The 17-year-old's legal team contended that it was not in accordance with human rights laws and that the State had not set out a case to answer.

However, Judge King held that the liberty of the then Tánaiste and her adviser were restricted at numerous stages and the teenager was guilty based on the evidence. He imposed a conditional discharge, meaning the teenager will not have a criminal record if he does not reoffend and is of good behaviour for nine months.

Irish Independent

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