Jailed teacher Enoch Burke will remain behind bars for the Christmas period due to his refusal to purge his contempt of court.
On Tuesday, December 13, Enoch Burke appeared via a video link in front of the High Court and pleaded with Justice Conor Dignam to use his discretion to “free me for Christmas”. Burke told the court that he was “not a thief, a murderer or a drug dealer” and that he was “in prison for my religious beliefs” and his objection to “transgenderism”.
In actual fact, Enoch Burke was jailed at Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court, something the justice system uses to ensure that court orders are obeyed. Burke was incarcerated because he refused to comply with a High Court injunction against him that was granted to his employer Wilson’s Hospital School where the man reportedly turned up despite being on paid administrative leave pending a disciplinary process.
The teacher was suspended for his alleged conduct at a school event in June, where he harassed the principal and publicly disputed a transgender student’s ‘they/them’ pronouns, saying that a belief system was being forced upon the students and that transgenderism goes against the institution’s ethos and the teaching of the Church of Ireland.
Jailed teacher Enoch Burke will remain behind bars for Christmas after he again refused to obey a court order to stay away and not attempt to teach at the secondary school he is employed at. pic.twitter.com/W6oTxAT5bg
— Courts News Ireland (@courtsnewsIRL) December 13, 2022
Burke has remained in jail since September but he could at any point secure his release by purging his contempt before the court. During the hearing on Tuesday, he once again refused to do so, saying that purging contempt would be in breach of his Christian beliefs and his duty to God.
After hearing his plea, Justice Conor Dignam refused to grant Burke’s release given that the teacher was not prepared to comply with “a valid court order”, as the judge described it. This decision prompted an angry response from Burke’s parents, Sean and Martina Burke, who were present in court and spoke against the ruling.
Might be his plan to stay away from the rest of the Burke's. Christmas must be a right downer in that Gaff
— David Fox (@thedogsbollox69) December 13, 2022
Sean Burke said he had brought his son up to have strong Christian values, claiming that opposition to “transgenderism” is written in the Bible, “from the book of Genesis to Revelations”. Burke’s mother said that the judges would face judgement from “a higher power” and “God Almighty” in relation to their decisions to not release her son.
After Burke’s parents finished addressing the court, Justice Dignam said that he was “not going to enter into a debate” with them and rose from the bench. Burke’s appeal against the injunctions obtained against him is due to come before the court in February.
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