Simeon Burke Pleads Not Guilty...


Simeon Burke Pleads Not Guilty To Breach Of Peace

Laura Donnelly
Laura Donnelly

05:13 28 Mar 2023

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A brother of sacked school teacher Enoch Burke has pleaded not guilty to a breach in connection with outbursts in the Court of Appeal.

Simeon Burke, 24, a barrister-at-law Kings Inn student, told Judge Cephas Power at Cloverhill District Court, "We are not in North Korea, judge, where you can be thrown in a cell and not be told what you have done".

He remains in custody and bemoaned today that he should have been sitting his drafting exams in Kings Inns as he demanded a speedy trial and accused gardai of lies.

He will learn his hearing date tomorrow.

The student had been arrested following chaotic scenes where gardai intervened in the Court of Appeal in the Four Courts after a judgement was handed down in teacher Enoch Burke's case on March 7.

Simeon Burke and his family had been there to support his brother, awaiting a ruling on his unsuccessful appeal against the High Court orders refraining him from attending Wilson's Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, where he has been in a legal dispute over transgenderism.

Gardai arrested Simeon, with an address at Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co. Mayo and brought him to the Bridewell Garda station.

He was charged with a breach of the peace, under the Public Order Act, for engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and behaviour at the Court of Appeal.

However, he had refused to take up bail on the evening of his arrest, resulting in gardai bringing him before a late sitting of Dublin District Court.

There was no objection to bail set at €200, requiring no lodgement, but with a condition to stay away from the Four Courts.

However, the student would not accept that and refused to sign the bond, claiming that the Court of Appeal was trying "to shove transgenderism down the throats of the people", and he called for a halt to his prosecution.

As a result, he was remanded in custody with consent to bail and has remained in prison for the past three weeks.

The hearing of the transgenderism dispute between the school and Enoch Burke commenced today in the High Court and is expected to last four days.

Meanwhile, Simeon Burke faced his third hearing on his breach of the peace charge when he appeared before Judge Power at Cloverhill District Court today.

Dressed navy suit, white shirt and blue tie, he was supported in court by his father, Sean, who watched from the front row of the public gallery and waved to his son.

Mr Burke had been provided with a disclosure of a summary of prosecution evidence two weeks ago, and his case was listed today to enter a plea.

Standing and facing the judge, he complained that prosecution disclosure was "15 lines, 15 sentences" and "a made-up story" and claimed that gardai had fabricated evidence against him. He said it was "lies that I was insulting, lies that I was abusive, lies that I was aggressive in court".

He maintained his arrest was manifestly unlawful and the power of arrest had not been explained to him.

"We are not in North Korea, judge, where you can be thrown in a cell and not be told what you have done," he said, adding that his detention was unlawful and that it was the gardai who were insulting an abusive, and his shirt had been ripped open and expletives were used toward him.

Simeon Burke also claimed it was gardai who had "broken the law" and flung him into a cell and left him injured with wounds on his hands and bruising on his body, requiring medication for the pain.

He demanded that his hearing date be expedited and added that he had been deprived of his exams. "I should have been in Kings Inn this morning, sitting my drafting exams," he said, but "the rights of the citizens in this country are hanging in the balance".

He again complained about his treatment by gardai, asking, "are they above the law?".

When he finished, Judge Power said, "From that, I take it you are pleading not guilty".

Mr Burke confirmed his not-guilty plea and said he was innocent and ready to face the case.

The prosecution asked to make minor amendments to the charge, which Judge Power allowed, and he told the accused they did not affect the nature of the allegation.

"They are still lies," Simeon retorted.

The judge heard there would be five prosecution witnesses and asked how long the defence case would last.

"As long as it takes to expose the lies," Simeon Burke answered.

Judge Power ordered him to appear before Dublin District Court tomorrow when he will be given his hearing date.

The judge reminded him there was consent to bail, but he must sign the bond.

Nevertheless, Simeon Burke maintained his remand in custody was "blatantly unlawful".

Reporting by Tom Tuite

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