Dublin South West and Solidarity TD Paul Murphy goes on trial today along with six others for the alleged false imprisonment of Joan Burton during a water charge protest in Jobstown.
The alleged incident occurred when Ms Burton was attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosan on November 15th 2014.
The defendants are also accused of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste’s adviser Karen O Connell on the same day. The jury to be sworn in this morning for the trial which is expected to run for up to six weeks.
Dublin councillors Kieran Mahon and Michael Murphy are also among the accused.
Sean Gillane will open his case on behalf of the prosecution and begin calling witnesses, which may include Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell.
False imprisonment is one of the most serious criminal offences in Ireland and carries the potential penalty of life imprisonment on conviction.
On a statement uploaded onto his Facebook page yesterday, Deputy Murphy said the outcome of the trial may set a precedent for what constitutes protesting.
“Tomorrow, along with six others, I’ll go on trial for false imprisonment because of participating in a protest.
“We are part of 18 adults facing trumped up charges for protesting against Joan Burton.
“The outcome of this trial will determine whether sitting down and slow marching is protesting or kidnapping.
“It will also determine whether we go to jail and I am removed as a TD.
“Please come tomorrow to give all the defendants a proper show of solidarity before the trial starts in the afternoon.”