Paul Murphy TD pleads not guilty to false imprisonment of Joan Burton

Seven accused face charges of alleged false imprisonment of former tánaiste

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy is one of seven people facing trial over the alleged false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton during a protest in Jobstown, Co Dublin, in 2014. Photograph: Collins

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy is one of seven people facing trial over the alleged false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton during a protest in Jobstown, Co Dublin, in 2014. Photograph: Collins

 

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment of former Labour Party leader Joan Burton.

A jury was selected in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday for the case, in which Mr Murphy and six other men are facing identical charges.

Mr Murphy, of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, is accused of the false imprisonment of Ms Burton by restricting her personal liberty, without her consent, on November 15th, 2014, on Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Co Dublin.

He is also accused of the same offence in relation to Karen O’Connell.

All seven accused pleaded not guilty to both charges, after which a jury of five women and seven men was selected.

There were approximately 100 people in the public gallery for the jury selection, including politicians Ruth Coppinger, Bríd Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett and Lynn Boylan.

Judge Melanie Greally said the case could take six weeks and asked that jurors avoid conducting research on the internet during the course of the trial.

The six other accused are: Kieran Mahon, of Bolbrook Heights, Tallaght; Michael Murphy, of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden; Scott Masterson, a self-employed courier, of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght; Ken Purcell, a precision operator, of Kiltalown Green, Tallaght; Frank Donaghty, a retired construction worker, of Alpine Rise, Tallaght, and Michael Banks, of Brookview Green, Tallaght.

Mr Mahon and Michael Murphy are Solidarity members of South Dublin County Council.

Prosecution witnesses

Ms Burton, Ms O’Connell and Minister for Children Katherine Zappone are among the prosecution witnesses due to give evidence in the case, the court heard.

A long list of Garda and non-Garda witnesses was read to the jury panel, who were told that if they knew any of these people they should consider carefully if they should serve as jurors.

They were also told by the judge they should not serve if they knew the parties before the court.

“Knowing” meant actual acquaintance and not just from TV appearances or political activity, she said.

She said that people who were, or had been, employed by Irish Water or in the installation of water meters should not serve.

She said people who had strong views in relation to water charges should consult their consciences and should not serve if they did not feel they could be impartial.

Likewise, people with strong political views or associations with the defendants or the prosecution witnesses should ask themselves if they could be impartial, the judge said.

Strong views

The judge said people who had expressed strong views in public or on social media in relation to what had happened in Jobstown should bring the fact of those comments to the attention of the court.

People in the streets close to Fortunestown Road should not serve, but those from the wider Jobstown and Tallaght area were not precluded from serving if they felt they could be impartial, the judge said.

Jury selection took more than 2½ hours. Two jurors were dismissed after it emerged there might be difficulties with their English comprehension.

The trial is to begin on Tuesday afternoon.