Joan Burton: Teen found guilty of false imprisonment

The Children's Court in Dublin Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Protestors have gathered at the Children's Court in Dublin

A 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of the false imprisonment of former Irish deputy prime minister Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell.

He has been given a conditional discharge meaning that he will not be given a criminal conviction as long as he does not reoffend and is of good behaviour for nine months.

The case related to a protest against water charges in Jobstown in Tallaght, Dublin, two years ago.

The boy was 15-year-old at the time.

Judge John King said the personal liberty of Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell was restricted, without their consent.

He said the boy had witnessed what was going on and instead of disassociating himself, he was an active participant.

The judge told the Children's Court in Dublin that the boy was present as Ms Burton and her adviser walked to the church from the local An Cosán centre in Jobstown until the Garda (Irish police) vehicle, in which she was a passenger, managed to make its way slowly out of the area.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The judge found Joan Burton and her adviser's liberty was restricted against 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.

He said the State had a positive obligation to intervene, for public safety, to prevent disorder and crime and to protect the rights of others, particularly, Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell.

He rejected the defence submission that the boy had no case to answer and he said he was satisfied the State had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and he was entitled to convict the boy.

The boy's lawyers told the court he had been in hospital for the last number of days with a number of issues and was disclosed on Wednesday.

They were concerned stress was a factor in the medical problems he had been suffering.

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