Enoch Burke refuses court's proposal to be temporarily released for Christmas

"I am not looking for a Christmas gift. I am looking for justice,” said Enoch Burke after refusing to be temporarily released for Christmas.

The image shows Enoch Burke, who recently refused to be released for Christmas, being escorted into a building by two Gardaí. He is wearing a grey plaid suit with a white shirt and open colar.
Image: @gomezfdzjimena via Twitter

After pleading with the court to be freed for Christmas on Tuesday, December 13, Enoch Burke has now refused the opportunity to be temporarily released from prison.

During a High Court hearing that took place today, December 16, Enoch Burke was offered the opportunity to be released from Mountjoy Prison for the Christmas period, given that the school where the jailed teacher worked would be closed.

Burke was arrested last September 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. He was suspended from working at the school 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.

Since then, Burke has remained in prison for contempt of court, though he could at any point secure his release by purging his contempt before the judges. At a hearing this week, he once again refused to do so, saying that purging contempt would be in breach of his Christian beliefs and his duty to God.

While on that occasion Justice Conor Dignam refused to free Burke, he requested that the teacher appear in court again today and offered him the possibility to be temporarily released. Justice Dignam said it would be appropriate for the court to consider doing so, given that Enoch Burke wouldn’t be able to breach the previous court order to stay away from the school since it would be closed over the Christmas period.

However, Burke refused the proposal, saying: “I don’t see the point of coming in on Wednesday. I am not looking for a Christmas gift. I am looking for justice”. He then added that it was his “great wish to spend Christmas at the family home gathered around the fire”, but that he did “not wish to leave prison on a reprieve”.

Burke once again stated that his imprisonment, which he says was caused by his religious beliefs and his opposition to “transgenderism”, was unlawful. “I fear this is an effort by the court to salve its conscience by offering me some mercy,” he continued. “But I wish to leave Mountjoy prison justified in my cause with that order overturned.

“I don’t see any other way in which the courts and the law of the land can deal with this matter and put it right other than by wholly vindicating me,” he concluded.

Justice Dignam then said that a hearing would be scheduled next Wednesday to proceed on the matter and that Burke could choose not to attend it if he wished so. The jailed teacher said this potential hearing seemed “a waste of court time”.

Burke’s appeal against the injunctions obtained against him is due to come before the court in February.

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