Tag Archives: Jobstown

From top: Claire Byrne and Jason Lester; Jason

Yesterday, Jason ‘Jay’ Lester won his appeal against falsely imprisoning Joan Burton and her advisor in Jobstown, Tallaght, three years ago after lawyers for the State said they would not be contesting the case.

Jason, of Brookview Close in Tallaght,  was 15 when he was charged.

Last night, he spoke to Claire Byrne on RTÉ 1’s Claire Byrne Live.

Claire Byrne: “Jason first of all how do you feel tonight after that verdict today?”

Jason Lester: “Extremely happy. Relieved that it’s all over. Three years. It’s been a very long three years. So tonight I suppose I’m feeling a lot better than I have been over the past few years. Extremely relieved and happy. Really really happy.”

Byrne: “What was that moment like today in court when you knew finally that this was over?”

Lester: “Yeah when everything became official in court I was sitting with my mam. I looked at her, and the two of us, you know, it was sudden relief. You know when we were just… 30 seconds… after three years, 30 seconds of the judge speaking, it was all over. The DPP said they weren’t going to contest it. It was amazing the feeling, you know, it was a serious relief.”

Byrne: “When all this started at the time the protest, you were only fifteen.You’re a young man now. You were a child at that time. So this has been going on right through your late teens.”

Lester: “That’s right, yeah. Through the Leaving Cert as well, it was all going on.”

Byrne: “What was that like. What was the impact on you and your life over the last three plus years?”

Lester: “Certainly a negative impact. So I was sick in hospital with stress twice throughout the trial. I was constantly feeling down in myself. My mental health as well, I was really hit by it. You know it is a hard thing to go through the court process at such a young age, in and out of court hearings all the time. It was really hard you know it wasn’t easy. For sure it wasn’t easy at all.”

Byrne: “What was difficult about the court process for you then?”

Lester: “It was a really intimidating thing to be brought before a court. You know it’s really serious you have a judge, you have legal argument and such serious charges which were brought against me, you know, really frightening if anything.”

Byrne: “In the case, you were convicted of false imprisonment. But you were discharged conditionally, on good behaviour for nine months so that you wouldn’t have a criminal record. What made you decide to contest that when you weren’t going to have a criminal record at the end of it?”

Lester: “I suppose it wasn’t about waiting for the nine months or anything like that. It was suddenly, straight away, the day we got the verdict I spoke to the legal team and said, you know, I want to go for an appeal here. I felt I was failed by the justice system and the legal system in the country. I didn’t feel that justice was done. You know, I was found guilty. It’s proven now I was found guilty on evidence that adults weren’t proven guilty on in the adult court, you know. So initially it was my idea to speak to the legal team, get an appeal in, and get the conviction overturned. And I think the position we’re in today kind of proves it was the right decision to do.”

Byrne: “It took guts to challenge the system and to stick with it.”

Lester: “Yeah, it did. But, again I’m really happy that was what I done. You know, I think if you’re not happy with something you have to speak up about. And that’s what I done.”

Byrne: “Can we go back to the day of the protest because lots of people watching this will have seen the pictures from that time. It was a lengthy protest, it was a loud protest, it was a difficult situation for everybody. It looked very tense. What was it like being there being in the middle of it? What was it like for you?

Lester: “Yes for me partaking in it, I was taking part in the political protest on the day. Peaceful to myself definitely. slow marching, chanting slogans and holding a megaphone and a banner. And these are some of the points that I was actually convicted on. I stood in front of Joan Burton for three seconds that was a momentary stoppage as such if you like. And that begs the question then in the court case, does a momentary stoppage lead to false imprisonment?

But on the day I took part in a peaceful protest, I slow marched, and you know, there was talk about people throwing things, but I was one of the people, and this was said in the court and evidence to show, I was one of the people that encouraged people on the sideline who weren’t part of the protest to stop throwing things, and the judge did thank me for that as well, you know.”

Byrne: “We know that things were thrown on that day.”

Lester: “That’s right. And you know the protesters weren’t happy about that. It’s important that we know, the people that were throwing those things weren’t involved in the protest and the protesters were encouraging those people to stop. Because we were there for a political protest. You know, those people possibly weren’t. And we encouraged them to stop, and evidence was shown of that, and the judge even thanked me for that.”

Byrne: We’ve talked about how this impacted you, and the long process through the court system and all of the rest. Would you do it again if you were back in that situation?

Lester: “If there was a political protest tomorrow, I’d certainly take part in a protest tomorrow if there was one. Be it of the homeless issue, the health crisis that we have in the country at the minute, or if it was on water charges. I’d certainly take part in the protest again tomorrow.”

Byrne: “So you see yourself as an activist, as a political activist?”

Lester: “Yeah I would classify myself as an activist, I took part in Apollo House last Christmas which was a great experience to take part in, also you know.”

Byrne: “Moving on from the day of the protest to the day of your arrest. Tell us what happened that day.”

Lester: “That morning I was getting ready to go to school. I came back into my bedroom after getting ready, and there was suddenly a loud bang on the door. I looked out the window to find I think it was 10 to 11 guards in the front garden of the house. Next thing I knew there was two of them in my bedroom, telling me you know they were here to arrest me for the charge of false imprisonment of the Tánaiste of the country, Joan Burton and her advisor Karen O’Connell.

Extremely shocked at that point. Frightened, definitely. They asked me did I understand what they were arresting me for. I said no I don’t. Can you explain it again and they said well we just did. So that was it. I was under arrest so to speak, being charged brought to the station in a separate car than my mam, three guards, very intimidating, the whole situation the way it’s done. Brought down to the station, put in a the cell for two and a half hours then brought out to have your fingerprints taken your pictures, treated like a top class criminal really. Then the interview process that lasted over two hours again. It was a totally discomforting scenario to be in. Certainly not one I enjoyed.”

Byrne: “Now you’ve had your result today and you say you’re relieved that you’re at the end of this process, but for you, more needs to happen?”

Lester: “Yeah, I’d like to see a public inquiry go on, and to see, you know, things explained a bit more as to what went on. You know, how evidence was given in the Children’s Court and the same evidence was allowed be given in the adult’s court, and the evidence in the adult’s court wasn’t contested whereas it was in the children’s court. The DPP didn’t accept the facts in the Children’s Court but when the same facts were put before him and the adult’s court they were accepted. So I think there needs to be some type of an investigation into what actually went on, the policing of this whole investigation so to speak, and the trial process.”

Byrne: “So you’ve questions for the policing system and for the legal system?”

Lester: “Yes.”

Byrne: “And you think a public inquiry is the only way to have those answered for you?”

Lester: “I believe it can contribute towards getting those answers.”

Byrne: “And who do you make that call to?”

Lester: “I suppose you could speak to your local representatives. That’s what they’re elected for, to be your voice in government. You know and if we lobby them enough, we might just get that.”

Byrne: “Where does your life go from here, Jason?”

Lester: “At the moment I’m in a full time job. Politics is a part-time thing so to speak. But, you know I’d never rule anything out. Anything is possible. I could be in your chair in a few years, who knows?”

Watch in full here

Yesterday: No Contest

Thanks Laura Fitzgerald

Meanwhile…

Oh, Claire.

Jay Lester, this morning

An 18-year-old man, who was found to have falsely imprisoned former tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser in Jobstown in Tallaght three years ago, has won his appeal, after lawyers for the State said they would not be contesting the case.

A judge at the Children’s Court in 2016, ruled [Jay Lester] was entitled to make a finding of guilty in the case against the teenager, who was 15 at the time, of the protests against water charges in 2014. The judge said he would leave the young man without a criminal conviction if he was of good behaviour for nine months.

However, the man and his lawyers appealed the Children’s Court ruling to the Circuit Court.

This morning, in a brief hearing, lawyers for the State said they would not be contesting the appeal.

In fairness.

Teenager wins appeal over Jobstown ruling (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Update:

Jay Lester and mum Sandra address the media as Paul Murphy (far left), Solidarity/People Before Profit TD, looks on.

Rollinmgnews

Outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon

RTE reports:

Charges have been formally dropped against the remaining Jobstown protesters, with the exception of one person who remains charged with criminal damage.

A number of people were due to go on trial this week but had been informed recently the Director of Public Prosecutions would not be going ahead with the prosecution.

At the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon, lawyers for the DPP told the court they were entering a “nolle prosequi”, bringing an end to the prosecution against the remaining defendants.

One person remains charged with criminal damage and will appear in court in six weeks.

State withdraws prosecution of Jobstown defendants (RTE)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

Paul Murphy TD, of Solidarity, in Leinster House as Joan Burton TD, of the Labour Party speaks to the media on the Dáil plinth after Tuesday’s budgetary oversight committee

…. Confidence in the Garda Siochána is not an optional extra. It is the bedrock of public compliance and a properly functioning society. As a succession of scandals wash over the force, it is essential the public are assured that when gardaí give evidence in court, they speak nothing but the truth in accordance with their best recollection of sometimes fraught situations.

A Garda statement, saying a senior officer was conducting a review of organisational practices and policies arising out of Jobstown and “other issues of note”, may also have created the misleading impression that it would include evidence given in court. The Garda Commissioner made clear yesterday that this was not the case. A full Gsoc investigation is needed and Paul Murphy, if he is serious about anything other than crass political advantage, could usefully seek it.

A Case For Gsoc To Investigate (Irish Times editorial)

Meanwhile…

Thuggery!

Earlier today.

In the Dáil.

In light of the Jobstown verdict two weeks ago.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said:

“It started with politicians. It started with a Labour minister a few hours after the protest, saying it was false imprisonment. It was followed by the Taoiseach saying that it was kidnapping. It was followed by the now Taoiseach saying it was thuggery. It was followed by our lost colleague Noel Coonan describing it as the same as Isis, and it was echoed by large sections of the media.”

“Now Taoiseach, politicians, not courts, politicians have to deal with the consequences. If you believe it’s serious chance, as there is, that the gardai gave false evidence on the stand, will you accept that we have to have an independent, public inquiry.”

In response, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says:

“Deputy, you had a fair trial. It went on for nine weeks. Your peers heard both sides of the case, the prosecution and the defence and they reviewed the evidence and they acquitted you of false imprisonment. You’re not a victim here…”

Via RTE News

Meanwhile…

Again?

In the past hour.

At the Buswells Hotel, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2.

A press conference is held to call for a public inquiry into the Garda investigation into the Jobstown protest.

At the conference, the names of close to 100 TDs, Senators and academics who support this action are listed on a statement.

Via Niall Ó Donnghaile

Yesterday’s Sunday Independent

Further to yesterday’s criticism of the Jobstown protestors by Ed Brophy, former chief of staff to Joan Burton…

David Wall writes:

Reading Ed Brophy’s response to the the Jobstown verdict clarified a number of reasons why Joan Burton’s leadership of Labour was so ill-fated and indeed why Labour continue to flounder and struggle.

Labour are meant to be the voice of the many, not the few to borrow a phrase from the British Labour Party ( a group Brophy’s Ireland Thinks represents). Labour are meant to represent the rights of workers, the people without a voice.

This is their demographic, and yet a former Chief of Staff to the Tanáiste speaks of them as the enemy. He seems to dismiss the cases of Apollo House, Repeal the 8th and the non payment of tax by Apple as populist politics aimed at a ‘whimsical section of the electorate.’

Surely homelessness, reproductive rights and corporate tax avoidance should be the bread and butter of any labour movement?

Furthermore, he seems to want to limit the voice of the Solidarity Movement. They have filled the void left by the Labour Party as they snuggled cosily into the centre of politics.

The Solidarity movement are a dissenting voice to the left, but surely this is the role that Labour should be filling. Irish politics has evolved to have a number of centrist parties with Fine Gael on the right of centre while Irish Labour have moved towards the centre in a bold move away from their grassroots support.

That cannot be denied. Propping up what was seen as a government right of centre does not conform to Labour’s beliefs, even if it was ‘ameliorate capitalism.’

This amelioration, as noble as Brophy presents it, has simply seen a major shift from public to private, increased poverty and greater divide within society. Not a successful tactic it could be argued.
Brophy’s continues by stating that the for some Labours ‘mere act of entering coalition amounted to treachery.’ This seems to be a worrying oversight.

Rather than worrying about how entering coalition was viewed it would be more beneficial to examine the role of Labour within government. The electorate are forgiving, look at the recovery of Fianna Fáil. Labour have not been forgiven for their performance in government, rather than the act of entering coalition.

Performance is key and Labour never performed.

Finally, he praises the judicial announcement of innocence as being a positive because ‘in one fell swoop, the Solidarity thesis that the entire system is a conspiracy against them and the working class they purport to represent was put to the sword.’

Again, he is wrong, firstly a guilty verdict would have been a miscarriage of justice. Secondly, rather than exonerating the system it has raised further questions about the behaviour of the embattled gardaí.
At this point Labour have a battle on their hands. The centre is over populated and they are unlikely to take votes from the major powerhouses of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

They need to reestablish themselves as a voice on the left and unfortunately commentaries such as Ed Brophy’s in the Sunday Independent suggest that they have little interest in doing this.

Jobstown Verdict Is Correct But Beware Of The Backlash (Ed Brophy, Sunday Independent)

Today’s Irish Daily Mail; Jobstown protest in 2014; Ken Purcell arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin last month

Further to a jury last Thursday returning a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict to the Jobstown protesters – who had been charged with the false imprisonment of former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell…

It’s being reported that on Friday, two superintendents who recommended to the DPP that the protesters be charged with false imprisonment – an offence which carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment – were promoted.

In today’s Irish Daily Mail, Journalist Ali Bracken reports:

The two superintendents who recommended that the recently acquitted Jobstown protesters be charged with false imprisonment have been promoted to the rank of chief superintendent.

Superintendents Brian Sutton and Peter Duff, both based in Dublin Metropolitan Region South, led the investigation into the so-called Jobstown Seven.

…On Friday, 15 superintendents were informed that they have been promoted to the rank of chief superintendent following an interview selection process. Their appointments were made by the independent Policing Authority.

Further to this.

Readers will recall how the false imprisonment charges against one of the Jobstown protesters, Ken Purcell, were dropped on June 12 after Judge Melanie Greally ruled that an extension to Mr Purcell’s detention was unlawful.

Mr Purcell had been arrested at his home in Tallaght at 7.28am on February 13, 2015, by Garda Darren Rooney.

Mr Purcell’s initial detention was authorised by Sergeant Carlin Cullen – based on information Garda Rooney gave Sgt Cullen which he had obtained from viewing video footage, and information which Judge Melanie Greally later found to be “inaccurate and exaggerated”.

On February 13, 2015, Mr Purcell’s detention was extended by Supt Peter Duff, at 1.11pm, also based on information given to him by Garda Rooney. This extension was found to be unlawful.

Judge Greally ruled:

The information imparted by Garda Rooney was based on his viewing of video footage and for the purposes of this application can be divided into three limbs. The first limb is the description of the accused at two stages where he is said to have struggled with gardaí.

The second is an account of the accused behaving aggressively in front of the jeep when it was attempting to leave the grounds of Saint Thomas’s Church and the third is what is accepted to be accurate information concerning his participation in a sit down in front of the jeep on Fortunestown Road.

In Garda Rooney’s description of Kenneth Purcell’s conduct around the Avensis he stated he was start of the crowd and could be seen struggling with gardaí. Similarly, during the transfer from the Avensis to the garda jeep he was said to have struggled with gardaí.

A viewing of the footage by this Court showed no identifiable physical engagement between the accused and any member of An Garda Síochána, either at the Avensis or during the transfer.

A more accurate appraisal of his actions during the transfer from the Avensis to the jeep is that he can be seen in the footage moving from a somewhat peripheral position towards the advancing group of gardaí and protesters and he is subsequently visible in the thick of it.

Therefore the information imparted to Sergeant Cullen in this regard was inaccurate and exaggerated.

Continue reading

Right now.

Solidarity are hosting a press conference, in light of yesterday’s verdict in regards to the Jobstown trial, at the Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

It’s streaming live on the Facebook link above or here.

Earlier: Hacks Have No Agenda

From top: The Sunday World;  Irish Independent Weekend Review magazine; Irish Daily Mail and Independent.ie

Some coverage in the aftermath of the protests in Tallaght that led to the Jobstown trial.

Good times.

Earlier: Jobstown NOT Guilty

Covers via The Droid/Amorphous Kerry Blob