Teenage Jobstown protester has conviction quashed

Lawyers for the State told the court they were not contesting the appeal

Teenage Jobstown protester has conviction quashed

18-year-old Jason Lester outside the Circuit Court, 04-12-2017. Image: Frank Greaney/Newstalk

Updated 12:45

The Circuit Court has set aside a finding that a teenage boy falsely imprisoned former Tánaiste Joan Burton during a water charge protest in Dublin.

Jason Lester from Brookview Close in Tallaght was also found guilty of falsely imprisoning her adviser in Jobstown in November 2014.

It follows the acquittals earlier this year of seven co-accused and a decision to drop the charges against a further ten.

At around 7am on February 10th 2015, Jason Lester, then just 16, was arrested at his family home in Tallaght.

Here he is two days later addressing a large protest outside the Department of Justice:

Mr Lester was one of the many arrests to arise from a water charge protest that took place in Jobstown the previous November.

The then-Tánaiste Joan Burton was attending a graduation ceremony when an impromptu protest got underway.

Jason Lester was identified holding a mobile phone to her face but denied falsely imprisoning her and her adviser.

The prosecution claimed they were trapped for several hours when protesters blocked the passage of two Garda vehicles.

In the non-jury Children’s Court last year, Judge John King found Mr Lester guilty of two charges of false imprisonment, but said he would leave him without a criminal conviction if he stayed out of trouble for nine months.

His lawyers were prepared to appeal that ruling but the State’s legal team told the court this morning they would not be contesting the case.

Afterwards, Mr. Lester said he was relieved and spoke about the toll the proceedings have taken on his life:

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

“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.”