Jury in Jobstown protest trial ask to watch Garda air support video footage again

Jury in Jobstown protest trial ask to watch Garda air support video footage again

By Isabel Hayes

The jury in the trial of six men accused of falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton has asked to watch garda air support video footage taken on the day of the Jobstown protest.

As the jury returned to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to resume deliberations this morning, the jury foreman said they wished to view aerial video footage of the jeep on Fortunestown Road to see if it could reverse.

Dublin Courts 4

The jury of seven men and four women deliberated for one hour and 53 minutes yesterday. One juror was discharged earlier in the trial.

In her initial charge to the jury on Monday, Judge Melanie Greally outlined the definition of the charge of false imprisonment, which she said must involve “total restraint”. She said if there was a means of escape, or egress, than the restraint could not be total.

Judge Greally said the jury must consider whether Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell had a means of escape.

She said two such possible means of escape had been raised at trial – that they get out of the car and leave Fortunestown Road on foot, or that the Jeep reverse as advised by the Garda Air Support Unit.

In a further charge to the jury on Wednesday, the judge said a third means of escape was open to the jury to consider – whether the women could have “egressed down Fortunestown Road”. She said that means of escape involved “commotion and chaos” but it was open to the jury to decide if it was a reasonable option.

The jury will watch the video footage in the courtroom, which has been cleared to allow them to watch the footage while continuing deliberations.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five other men have pleaded not (NOT) guilty to falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell by restricting their personal liberty without consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght on November 15, 2014.

The trial started on April 26.

The two women were attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosán adult education centre when demonstrations broke out around them. They remained in a car in the churchyard and then in a jeep on Fortunestown Road for a total of three hours after they were surrounded by protesters.

The prosecution alleges that by surrounding the cars, the accused men engaged in a joint enterprise to “totally restrain” the women and deprive them of their liberty.

The defence has submitted that there was no false imprisonment and that the accused men were exercising their constitutional right of peaceful assembly. They maintain that obstructing the car was no more than “an inconvenience, delay and a nuisance”.