Simeon Burke insists judge never asked family to leave Court of Appeal

Law student (24) has been in custody since public order arrest on March 7th and refuses to sign bail bond

Remand prisoner Simeon Burke has insisted the presiding judge never asked his family to leave the Court of Appeal (CoA) before an incident that led to his breach of the peace prosecution.

In a pre-trial procedural hearing, the law student complained that he was provided with CCTV evidence on Wednesday despite being previously told there was no footage.

Mr Burke (24) told Dublin District Court via video link that the footage was given to him five minutes before his case was listed for mention to confirm his hearing on Monday could go ahead.

He demanded that copies of the appeal court’s digital audio recording (DAR) from March 7th, the day of his arrest, be handed over. He maintained that the presiding judge had not asked his family to leave the courtroom on that day when gardaí intervened following a ruling against his brother, Enoch Burke.


Since then, Simeon Burke has repeatedly refused to sign a bail bond with a condition to stay away from the Four Courts, where his brother was at the centre of a dispute over his dismissal by Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath. He is in custody in Cloverhill Prison.

Abusive words and behaviour

Mr Burke, of Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, was charged with a Public Order Act offence for engaging in threatening, insulting and abusive words and behaviour at the Four Courts on March 7th. The offence carries a possible three-month sentence.

On Wednesday, Mr Burke, representing himself, told Judge Gráinne Malone he had been told by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that there was no CCTV evidence from the court on the day of his arrest.

However, he said it was “extraordinary” that five minutes before he came into the prison’s video link booth on Wednesday, a guard appeared and “thrust” an envelope at him “and said the CCTV was in the envelope”. He said he needed time to review the evidence.

“In relation to his matter, I would just say there is a dispute; it’s an important plank of the prosecution case that the judge had asked for the family to leave,” he said.

“I say the judge never asked for my family to leave or for myself to leave the court, and obviously, therefore, the digital audio recording would be extremely relevant in getting to the truth, I say, of this critical dispute between the parties.”

A State solicitor said he understood the accused was furnished with additional Garda statements and CCTV evidence on Wednesday but that this was the first he had heard of the request for the audio recording from the Court of Appeal.

Obligation to disclose

He agreed there was an obligation on the DPP to seize and disclose relevant evidence. But the defendant was also obliged to contact and liaise with the prosecution about relevant evidence.

In reply, Mr Burke said that it was incorrect that this was the first time the audio issue had been raised.

Ammi Burke spoke up from the public gallery to say that over a week ago, a formal application was made to the CoA for the recording to be provided to her brother. Mr Burke also said Ms Burke, a qualified solicitor, is to act as a “McKenzie friend” to assist his defence, and he would have his own video and photographic evidence.

Judge Malone told the defendant that the law was clear that he was entitled to disclosure, that the court was conscious of the obligation for fair procedures and that he could raise the issues at the hearing.

However, she also informed him that she had no jurisdiction to determine the lawfulness of his detention. She remanded him in continuing custody with consent to bail to appear on Monday for his hearing.