Staying put | 

Enoch Burke's brother Simeon to remain in jail as he refuses to take up bail

Today was Simeon Burke's second court appearance since he was arrested last week and charged with threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour

Simeon Burke was escorted out of the Court of Appeal by gardaí. Photo: Sathishaa Mohan

Enoch Burke

Andrew PhelanSunday World

Enoch Burke’s younger brother has been remanded in custody for another two weeks as he continues to refuse to take up bail following his arrest on a public order charge.

Simeon Burke (24) told a judge at Cloverhill District Court that he had been illegally arrested and incarcerated, preventing him from sitting his law exams today.

Judge Cephas Power said he would not hear an illegal arrest application from the accused today and that it was a matter for the trial.

He remanded Mr Burke in continuing custody, with consent to bail, to appear in court again next week.

Mr Burke was returned to the adjoining remand jail at the west Dublin prison complex as his case was adjourned.

Today was Simeon Burke's second court appearance since he was arrested last week and charged with threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at the Four Courts.

The offence allegedly happened during a disturbance on March 7, when the Court of Appeal rejected Enoch Burke’s appeal against injunctions barring him from a Co Westmeath where he had taught.

Simeon Burke had been at the hearing in support of his brother and his ongoing dispute with the school over his refusal to address a transgender student as “they/them.”

The accused had been arrested as gardai removed members of the Burke family from court over interruptions to the hearing.

Court dismisses appeal as Burkes forcibly removed from courtroom

He had been granted bail but the accused, of Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, refused to sign the bond and take it up last week.

When the case was called today, Simeon Burke was not initially present and a prison guard said he was in consultation. He was then brought from the cells area into the dock where he stood holding several paper folders.

Another brother Isaac, who was in court to support him along with his parents and sister Ammi, said the accused was “representing himself.”

The judge told the accused he was charged under Section 6 of the Public Order Act and the case was “in for disclosure” of prosecution evidence.

Garda Sergeant Olwyn Murphy handed a written summary of the evidence over to the accused.

“He’s representing himself,” Ammi Burke repeated to the judge. “I am his legal advisor, he has an application to make that will take a moment.”

“Today is not the day for applications, today is a day for disclosure,” the judge said.

“The arrest is unlawful,” Simeon Burke said from the dock.

“That is a matter for the hearing, Mr Burke,” Judge Power said.

The accused said he was being incarcerated following an arrest that was unlawful.

“The person being arrested must be told they are being arrested and the reason for arrest, why they are being arrested, the power of arrest” Mr Burke continued.

He said an arrested person needed to be told the factual basis and legal authority behind their arrest.

“If that is not done, it is not valid,” he said.

The judge asked the accused to stop as he continued to speak over him, then said: “Mr Burke is not going to listen to me.” “I’m being deprived of my liberty on the basis of a lawful arrest,” Mr Burke said.

“That is a matter for the trial,” the judge repeated.

Mr Burke said he was “attacked” by gardai and four to five of them dragged him out of court.

He said he had barrister’s exams this morning and he was not being allowed to sit his exams.

Ammi Burke, who is a solicitor, said her brother “should be able to make an application in relation to unlawful arrest.”

The judge remanded the accused in custody with consent to bail on the previously agreed terms to March 28, when he will be expected to decide on a plea. If he pleads not guilty he will be given a date for hearing.

Enoch Burke

At Mr Burke’s first appearance last week, Garda Conor Dwyer said he was called to the Four Courts at 3.23pm where a man was allegedly shouting and provoking a breach of the peace, with several members of the public around.

They escorted the accused outside and he was shouting in an aggressive manner, he said.

“I tried to reason with him and he did not comply,” he said.

Simeon Burke had addressed the district court, claiming he had been assaulted by “a mob of gardai” and treated in a “brutal fashion” by them because his family objected to “having transgenderism forced down the throats of the people of this country."

He claimed gardai “manhandled” him and “pushed him out of the courtroom," leaving him bleeding and his clothes ripped off.

He ordered the presiding judge, Paula Murphy to “stop this process now” and said “I’m not a criminal here and I won’t be treated as such.”

There was no garda objection to bail subject to conditions and the judge set bail in his own bond of €200, with no cash lodgement required.

Under conditions, he is to stay away from the Four Courts and sign on three times weekly at his local garda station.

At the earlier Court of Appeal hearing, schoolteacher Enoch Burke lost an appeal aimed at overturning court orders preventing him from attending Wilson’s Hospital School in Multyfarnham in Co Westmeath.

He was suspended, then dismissed in the row over his refusal on religious grounds to address a transgender student by their preferred name and pronouns.

The evangelical Christian spent 108 days in jail for contempt of court by continuing to turn up at the school. He was released without purging his contempt but has continued to return to his former workplace, incurring fines.

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