Paul Murphy and others 'plainly involved' in restricting the liberty of Joan Burton, trial told

The trial of Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and six other water charge protesters has heard they were “plainly involved” in restricting the liberty of then TD Joan Burton in 2014.

Mr Murphy (34), together with South Dublin councillors Kieran Mahon (39), Michael Murphy (53) and four other men have entered not guilty pleas at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on charges of falsely imprisoning then Tánaiste and her adviser Karen O'Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght on November 15, 2014

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, told the jury of five women and seven men, that the charges against the seven men should not be confused with kidnapping or the taking and carrying away of someone.

The offence involves the intentional or reckless restriction of a person’s liberty without that person’s consent. It does not require that a person be put in a prison and can include being restricted in a car, he said.

(Left to right) Solidarity TD Paul Murphy of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, Michael Murphy of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin, Scott Masterson of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght, Frank Donaghy of Alpine Rise, Tallaght, and Dublin councillor Kieran Mahon of Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght, arriving at court today. Pic: Courtpix

Opening the prosecution case Mr Gillane told the jury that everyone was entitled to political views and opinions and to express such views with gusto and energy.

He said that a political motivation or grievance did not grant immunity from operation of the law.

“A view is no more privileged or worthy of protection because it is shared by people in power or because it is held by people in protest,” he said.

He described how Ms Burton and her advisor allegedly had eggs and water balloons “hurled” at them while attending a graduation ceremony at a further education centre in Jobstown.

Arrangements were made for them to leave by a side entrance and to get into a garda car, but it was immediately surrounded by water charges protesters.

The vehicle was banged on and there was shouting and roaring, Mr Gillane said.

Members of the garda public order unit arrived and the Tánaiste was moved to a garda jeep “by means of a human cordon”. This jeep was also surrounded and unable to move, Mr Gillane said.

The then Tánaiste and her advisor were trapped in the jeep for around two hours.

Mr Gillane told the jury they would hear that accused Paul Murphy TD was heard saying: “If they withdraw the public order unit, will we let her go?”

Ultimately the Jeep was moved very slowly and Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell secured their departure by running to two different garda cars.

Counsel said it was the prosecution case that the seven men were “plainly involved in the restriction of liberty” of the two women. The court heard that Ms Burton would be the first witness and is due to give evidence tomorrow.

Mr Murphy of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght; Mr Mahon of Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght; Michael Murphy of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin; Frank Donaghy (71) of Alpine Rise, Tallaght; Ken Purcell (50) of Kiltalown Green; Michael Banks (46) of Brookview Green, Tallaght and Scott Masterson (34) of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght have all been arraigned and entered not guilty pleas.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally.



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