Tallaght teen found guilty of Joan Burton false imprisonment wins appeal against conviction

A local teenager found guilty of the false imprisonment of former Tanaiste Joan Burton during the Jobstown water protest today had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Jason Lester, 18, from Brookview Close, was just 15 when he took part in the protest which led to his arrest and trial which took place last year.

After he was found guilty at last years trial he faced a possible two-year sentence however, on October 21, 2016, Judge John King imposed a conditional discharge providing he did not re-offend in the following nine months.

He was the only person to be found guilty of false imprisonment of Joan Burton and her assistant Karen O Connell during the November 2014 protest.

Jason appealed the verdict and the case was listed in the circuit court today.

Giollaoisa O Lideadha SC, defending, said the State’s application was that the appeal would not be opposed. He also said that though the appeal came from the Children’s Court, his client, who did not address the proceedings, was now aged 18 years.

Following three years of fighting to clear his name, today he won his appeal against the guilty verdict.

Speaking outside the court following the decision, the local teen said:

“Today, my convictions for two counts of false imprisonment have been overturned.

“The past two years of court proceedings have been extremely stressful.

“They have taken a toll on my health and my family life.

“I was prosecuted with serious offences of false imprisonment when I was only 15-years-old for taking part in a legitimate political protest.”

In a statement delivered via his Facebook page, Dublin South West and Solidarity TD Paul Murphy welcomed the judgement.

“The DPP didn’t contest the appeal, which really tells you something, when they won’t even stand over a conviction that they got.

“That’s because they won that conviction based on Garda lies that were exposed in the adult court.

“The argument for an independent public inquiry has never been stronger. Well done Jay!