herald

Monday 20 November 2017

TDs back calls for boy's Jobstown protest guilty verdict to be overturned

Paul Murphy TD (left) with members of the Jobstown Not Guilty group at the news conference. Photo: Tom Burke
Paul Murphy TD (left) with members of the Jobstown Not Guilty group at the news conference. Photo: Tom Burke

A number of TDs and academics have supported calls to overturn the guilty verdict against a 17-year-old boy accused of false imprisonment at the Jobstown protest in 2014.

The youth was found guilty at the Children's Court but was discharged and spared a criminal conviction, on the condition of good behaviour for a nine-month period.

He was 15 at the time of his arrest.

Discredited

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Jobstown Not Guilty group - supported by opposition TDs and academics - called for an appeal against the young man's guilty verdict.

The group said the ruling was made in a "judge-only court", and that it was on the basis of "Garda evidence which was discredited in front of a jury".

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five others were found not guilty last week of the false imprisonment of former Labour Party leader Joan Burton and her adviser during an anti-water charge protest in 2014.

A statement from the Jobstown Not Guilty group claimed that the trial had "exposed very serious and worrying flaws in the Garda investigation into the protest".

It added that there was a "serious issue" that "inaccurate and misleading evidence was repeatedly given by multiple gardai" at last week's trial.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said "another expensive trial" needed to be avoided.

"People were on a protest that was on a legitimate issue that was affecting them," he said. "It needs to be investigated that the State colluded in a political fix-up of people in Jobstown."

Mr Murphy told the Herald that it would be "completely unjust" if the young man did not have his conviction overturned.

"It does establish the idea that someone can be convicted for false imprisonment as a result of peacefully protesting," he said.

Acceptable

"Video evidence that was used to convict him was completely discredited in our trial."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in the Dail on Tuesday there were no plans to hold an inquiry.

"It appears to me that Deputy Murphy and his co-defendants got a fair trial," Mr Varadkar said.

"The jury heard the case. They heard both sides of the case and all the evidence and they decided to acquit.

"But I don't think that means that the behaviour that we saw in Jobstown was decent or acceptable."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News