Court finds Simeon Burke is being lawfully detained

Court Finds Simeon Burke Is Being Lawfully Detained
Mr Burke was arrested by gardaí following an alleged disturbance at the Court of Appeal, which was in the process of handing down its decision in the on-going legal dispute between Enoch Burke and Wilson's Hospital School.  
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High Court Reporters

The High Court has dismissed Simeon Burke's bid to be immediately release from prison and his attempt to halt his upcoming trial before Dublin District Court on a public order charge.

In his ruling on Friday evening Mr Justice Brian Cregan cleared the way for the law students' trial before the District Court to proceed next Monday after ruling that the Co Mayo man's detention in Cloverhill prison is lawful.


In a lenghty and detailed decision judge said that Mr Burke's "concerns" about the legality of his detention and his upcoming trial were "utterly without foundation."

Mr Burke was granted an inquiry into the legality of his detention at Cloverhill Prison, where he has been remanded in custody on a public order charge since his arrest following an incident at the Court of Appeal building in the Four Courts on March 7th last.

He had declined to take up bail of €200 surety and agree to stay away from the Four Courts.

The judge said that court reject claims Mr Burke about the warrant underpinning his detention , his arrest by Gardai, and the District Court's handing of his case being flawed to degree that he should be released, and his trial halted.


The court was satisfied from the evidence including testimony from guards Michael McGrath and Conor O'Dwyer and CCTV images, which Mr Burke had opted not to cross examine, that Mr Burke's arrest after judges in the Court was lawful, proportional and that excessive force was not used during the arrest.

While Mr Burke might not have liked been physically removed from the courtroom by gardaí however this came about as a result of members of his family disrupting the CoA from delivering its judgement in a case involving his brother Enoch and Wilson's Hospital School

'Pack of lies'

Mr Burke, the judge said had also accused the gardaí of telling "a pack of lies" regarding the circumstances of his arrest.

The judge remarked that despite making such serious allegations Mr Burke had opted not to cross-examine members on duty that day, despite being given every opportunity to do so.


The court was also satisfied that garda O'Dwyer was the Garda who arrested Mr Burke.

The judge also said that Mr Burke's complaints about the District Court's handling of his complaints were matters he could seek to have reviewed in other proceedings such as judicial review or before the judge hearing the criminal case.

He said that Mr Burke had spent over a month in prison after he opted not to take up "very mild" bail conditions from the District Court on a point of principle.

Mr Justice Cregan added that it was "hard to see" what this point of principle was, adding the Mr Burke could walk free from prison immediately if he were to take up bail.


The 24-year-old student barrister was not present in the court when the judge delivered his decision and was returned to Cloverhill after the ruling was granted.

Mr Burke, the court remarked, had opted to stop taking an active part in the inquiry when the court had ruled against him on a procedural matter on Friday morning.

Despite being in court for the hearing of evidence and submissions Mr Burke's family, including his parents and several of his siblings, departed the Dublin venue early and were not present when the courts verdict was handed down.

Earlier on Friday the judge dismissed Mr Burke's claim that the inquiry was not proceeding in accordance with the law.


This, it was claimed, was because the state should have made its arguments first, and then the applicant should make his submissions second.

On Thursday Mr Burke had opened the case, to which the state had replied.

After the court rejected that argument Mr Burke then opted not to make submissions on CCTV images of his arrest or to cross-examine Garda witnesses, he had accused of lying, claims which were fully rejected by the officers in question.

Mr Justice Cregan told Mr Burke that his stance after his ruling was "ill-advised," and told him that the inquiry had been conducted and considered in accordance with the law.


Despite the courts' ruling on that preliminary point both Simeon Burke, a student barrister and sister Ammi, a qualified solicitor, continued to argue that the inquiry was not in accordance with the correct procedures.

This sparked a lengthy and sometimes heated exchanged involving the judge, Simeon and Ammi Burke and Seamus Clarke SC for the State respondents.

Ms Burke was critical of the court and its finding, adding that the judge's remarks that if her brother was dissatisfied with any ruling against him, he was entitled to appeal it to the court of Appeal as "insulting".

The Judge who said that court needed to progress the inquiry, noted that Ms Burke had attempted to re-argue the same point over 30 times.

The repeated attempts to raise the issue after the decision had been given was "a waste of the courts time" the judge said, adding that the point raised was "ludicrous" and "nonsense".

In his judgement Mr Justice Cregan strongly criticised Ms Burke's conduct during proceedings, which he said was "unprecedented" given that she is a "qualified solicitor and "an officer of the court".

He said that her arguments were wrong, and urged Mr Burke who he said has a great future ahead of him as barrister" to get on with the inquiry.

Mr Clarke said that Ms Burke was attempting to "barrack" the court after it had ruled against the submissions made on behalf her brother.

Mr Burke was arrested by gardaí following an alleged disturbance at the Court of Appeal, which was in the process of handing down its decision in the on-going legal dispute between Enoch Burke and Wilson's Hospital School.

Simeon Burke is charged with a breach of the peace, under the Public Order Act, for engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and behaviour at the CoA.

Simeon Burke, with an address at Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, denies the charges.

Mr Burke has been remanded in custody since his arrest with consent to bail, which he has declined to take up on a point of principle, arguing that to do would be to accept that his arrest was in some way lawful.

Counsel said that Mr Burke had wrongfully stated that parties including the gardaí, lawyers for the State and the courts have engaged in a "conspiracy" to wrongfully arrest, detain and charge him with an offence arising out of an incident in the Court of Appeal last month.

Simeon Burke claimed he was wrongfully arrested, detained and was "treated like an animal" and was physically injured when being removed from the courtroom, and in the yard immediately outside the court.

He also claimed that the warrant detaining him is fundamentally flawed on grounds including that its states he was arrested by a garda who he alleged did not arrest him.

Gardaí, he claimed, had no right to remove him from the courtroom, adding that the judges of the CoA did not make a direction while they were in the courtroom that he and members of his family should leave the court.

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He also claims that various procedures were not followed by the gardaí, including that he was never properly informed as to why he had been arrested.

He further claims that the breach of his constitutional rights was "so egregious" that the District Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the case against him.

As part of his inquiry, he sought orders directing his release from prison as well as an order prohibiting his trial before the District Court from proceeding.

After giving the court's ruling the Judge awarded the State its legal costs of the two-day hearing against Mr Burke.

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