Court audio recordings will be released for Simeon Burke appeal

Court Audio Recordings Will Be Released For Simeon Burke Appeal
Simeon Burke (24) was arrested following a disruption during a hearing for his brother Enoch Burke. Photo: Collins
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Eoin Reynolds

Audio recordings of court proceedings will be released to gardaí and to Simeon Burke as part of an appeal against the student lawyer's conviction for a public order offence during a "melee" at the Court of Appeal.

Simeon Burke (24) was arrested following a disruption during a hearing for his brother Enoch Burke who was contesting the lawfulness of his suspension from Wilson's Hospital School on March 7th this year.


Simeon, with an address at Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, was later convicted of an offence under the Public Order Act for engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and behaviour on or about the Four Courts, Inns Quay.

State solicitor Declan Keating described what happened in court prior to Simeon Burke's arrest as a "melee".

Grainne O'Neill BL, representing An Garda Síochána, on Friday asked Mr Justice John Edwards at the Court of Appeal for the release of the digital audio recording (DAR) of the court proceedings when Simeon Burke was removed from court by gardaí.

Enoch Burke addressed the court via telephone and said that he was consenting to the release of the recordings except those made after the judges had left the court.


It is the common practice of the courts to have an "ambient recording" running continuously, even when the court is not sitting. The ambient recording may be used if the official DAR system fails.

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Mr Burke said the use of anything beyond what was said while the court was in session would amount to covert surveillance by the State and should not be admissible. He said that people in court were not aware they were being recorded and the State has no right to use such recordings in criminal proceedings.

Mr Justice Edwards ruled that only those recordings that were made while the court was sitting should be released.

Simeon Burke is to appeal his conviction at the Circuit Court. As his conviction was recorded at the District Court, the appeal will be able to hear fresh evidence, including the digital audio recordings.


Mr Justice Edwards said that the issue to be resolved is whether the judge ordered the court to be cleared before gardai forcibly removed Simeon Burke. That issue can be addressed without the need for recordings of what happened after the judges had left, Mr Justice Edwards said. He added that parties may apply for further recordings if they find that what has been released is insufficient.

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