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Simeon Burke has breach of peace conviction struck out

Barrister Simeon Burke has had his conviction for a “volatile” breach of the peace following a “melee” at his brother Enoch’s case in the Four Courts in Dublin last year struck out after a judge found there was insufficient evidence he had committed a criminal offence.

At an appeal against his District Court conviction today, Judge John Martin said he was not convinced that Simeon Burke’s “unbecoming” behaviour met the threshold for a public order offence.

Mr Burke, 25, who was called to the Bar last October, had denied the charge before Judge John Hughes at Dublin District Court in July of last year, but was convicted and fined €300 for a public order offence that occurred on 7 March 2023, on or about the Four Courts, Inns Quay, in Dublin.

Mr Burke was convicted under Section 6 of the Public Order Act which states it is an “offence for any person in a public place to use or engage in any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace may be occasioned”.

At the District Court Appeals Court before Judge Martin today, Mr Burke, with an address at Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, had his appeal allowed and conviction quashed.

Judge Martin said that the threshold for Mr Burke, who was representing himself, to be convicted of the breach of the peace offence had to be “beyond a reasonable doubt” as it was a criminal matter.

Judge Martin said he did not feel that the garda witnesses in the case had proved the “requisite standard” for Mr Burke’s behaviour to attract a criminal conviction.

“I have heard evidence that he strongly resisted [gardaí] and was obstructing them and was crying terms concerning transgenderism and that gardaí should deploy their resources to other parts of the city,” said Judge Martin.

“Does it reach the criminal standard? I am afraid it doesn’t and I am allowing the appeal,” the judge said.

Mr Burke had been in attendance at the Four Courts where his brother Enoch was involved in a legal dispute before the Court of Appeal with Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath.

Simeon Burke’s contested District Court hearing featured CCTV evidence from the Four Courts, but not from inside the courtroom where the incident started before it spilled out to the yard where Mr Burke was dragged by three gardaí to the front of the building and onto Inns Quay before being arrested.

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