Latest: Teenager plans to appeal Jobstown verdict

Update 4.54pm: A 17-year-old boy is planning to appeal the guilty verdicts handed down today for falsely imprisoning Joan Burton and her adviser in November 2014.

He was aged 15 when he blocked them from leaving a graduation ceremony in Jobstown in Dublin - by standing in front of two Garda vehicles.

The judge described the boy as an “active participant” but decided not to give him a criminal record if he stays out of trouble for the next nine months.

Afterwards, his solicitor Michael Finucane said they intended to appeal.

“My client has asked me to say that he is extremely relived that the proceedings have ended, and that the stress on him and his family has, to some degree, been lifted, for the time being,” he said.

“But he is disappointed by the outcome.

“Counsel and myself are considering the options, but I can confirm that an appeal of some description will be taken in due course.”

Update 1.57pm: Today’s guilty verdict against a 17-year-old protester for the false imprisonment of Joan Burton has been called “an outrageous assault on civil liberties and the right to protest” by the #JobstownNotGuilty group today.

The judge later applied a conditional discharge whereby the boy will escape a criminal conviction if he stays out of trouble for the next nine months.

“This young man has had this hanging over him for almost two years while he completed his Leaving Certificate and started college,” the group stated.

“No evidence of false imprisonment was presented. Instead, he was found guilty on the basis of images of him attending a protest, leading a chant and holding a megaphone.

“This verdict represents the criminalisation of protest and sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It is, as his barrister argued in court, ‘a recipe for totalitarianism’.

“Any people who engage in sit-down protests or slow marching in future now face the threat of being convicted of false imprisonment.

“All those who oppose the criminalisation of protest should now make a stand. The right to protest must be defended by exercising it.

“We are calling on people to join the Rally for Justice tomorrow at 1pm at the Central Bank, which will march to the Children’s Court.”

Update 12.57pm: A teenager found guilty of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser during a protest in Jobstown in Dublin has been granted a conditional discharge by the trial judge today.

Both sides in the trial of agreed to proceed with his sentence hearing today, during which the court heard that Ms Burton had no desire to see any young person go to jail over this.

The judge decided to apply a conditional discharge whereby the boy will escape a criminal conviction if he stays out of trouble for the next nine months.

Earlier: A 17-year-old boy had been found guilty of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser during a protest in Jobstown in Dublin.

The judge described him as an “active participant” in the blocking of an unmarked Garda car they were in, following a graduation ceremony in 2014.

Judge John King said it was clear the passage of Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell was obstructed as they moved from the graduation ceremony to a nearby church.

He said they were clearly detained when an unmarked Garda car was surrounded outside the church and again when they were moved to a jeep.

YouTube clips and Garda evidence put the boy at both scenes and he could be seen directing the crowd with a megaphone at various points.

Judge King described him as an “active participant”. He said all elements of common design were made and rejected his claim he had no case to answer.

He said he was satisfied the offences had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and convicted him on both counts.

His sentence hearing is due to take place at later date. The maximum penalty for false imprisonment at district court level is 12 months in prison.

Chants from a large crowd gathered outside court grew louder and louder as news filtered through that the boy had been found guilty.


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