From top: Joan Burton during the protest in Jobstown, Tallaght, 2014; Protesters outside the Children’s Court in Smithfield, Dublin 7 this morning
…Judge John King at the Children’s Court in Dublin said the boy, who was 15 at the time, was present as Ms Burton and her adviser walked to the church from the local An Cosán centre in Jobstown until the slow march of the garda vehicle in which she was a passenger, out of the area.
He said the boy had witnessed what was going on and instead of disassociating himself, he was an active participant.
The judge said the personal liberty of Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell was restricted, without their consent.
He said the assembly of people was not peaceful and the behaviour of the protesters was contrary to public order and morality.
Accordingly, he said the protest did not attract protection under the constitution or the European Convention on Human Rights.
RTE further reports:
Judge King said he could not give the boy an unconditional discharge.
But he imposed a conditional discharge, meaning he will not have a criminal record if he does not re-offend and is of good behaviour for nine months.
Further to this…
RTE’s legal affairs correspondent Orla O’Donnell, told RTE’s News At One:
“Detective Garda Paul Smith told the court that neither Joan Burton or Karen O’Connell wanted to give any victim impact statements and he said that Joan Burton told him specifically that she had no desire to see any young person jailed in relation to the charges before the court.”
“Detective Garda Smith also told the court that the boy had no previous convictions and the court heard that he was very much involved in his local community, he worked with the homeless, he received a Gaisce award, he done well in his Leaving Cert, he had an offer of a full-time job and that that job was going to pay for his third-level education. So, a strong plea was made on his behalf – that he should not receive a conviction, that he be left without a criminal record.”
“The court also heard he was suffering from medical problems the last while, there was concern that stress about this case was a very big factor in that.”
Scenes outside the Children’s Court this morning as solicitor Michael Finucane (pic 3), who represents the 17-year-old boy, speaks to the media about the guilty verdict.