Eleven participants in water charges protest will be spared trial

Criminal charges against Jobstown protesters dropped

Garda helicopter footage captures the Jobstown protest in November 2014 where the then Tainaiste Joan Burton was held in a car for almost three hours.

 

Criminal charges have been dropped against 11 people due to stand trial over the alleged false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton, and other offences, arising from a protest against water charges in Jobstown, Dublin nearly three years ago.

One group of individuals had been due to go on trial in two weeks’s time, from October 2nd.

On Wednesday evening Solidarity TD Paul Murphy TD and solicitor Michael Finucane, who was representing many of the protesters, confirmed the charges had been dropped.

Mr Murphy said the decision by the DPP to abandon such a high profile prosecution would strengthen calls for an inquiry into the investigation of the protest in Jobstown in November, 2014.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Murphy said after he and five others were acquitted in July he believed the DPP reviewed the evidence against in the outstanding cases and decided the prospect of prosecution was low.

“They effectively had the same case to run, with some additions; some other charges also involved,” he said.

Mr Murphy said he believed the Garda’s evidence had been been badly undermined during the first trial, which ended in early July.

He said because the outstanding cases were dependent on the same evidence he had always been “very confident” of acquittal for those protestors due to stand trial.

“Some of those people sat through our trial and I’m delighted they have been spared the prospect of another trial of eight or nine weeks again.”

He said there was now a stronger case for an independent inquiry, akin to a tribunal of inquiry, into what he termed a “disgraceful and political” Garda investigation and trial.

Mr Murphy and five others were put on trial on charges of the false imprisonment of Ms Burton and her then assistant Karen O’Connell, on November 15th, 2014, on the Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, west Dublin.

A further 11 protestors were due to go on trial in two groups - on October 2nd and next April - facing a variety of charges.

Some involved the false imprisonment charge and also charges of criminal damage, violent disorder and other offences.

Garda Headquarters declined to comment on Wednesday night. However, informed Garda sources confirmed the charges had been dropped.