The Castlebar Burkes are beyond the Words, Fanatics, regarding, their Religious Beliefs, a Cult? They Dont Compromise?

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Ammi Burke disconnected from online court hearing after talking over judge and slamming his decision as ‘making no sense’

Ammi Burke (Photo: Gerry Mooney)

Ammi Burke (Photo: Gerry Mooney)

October 24 2022 02:59 PM

A High Court judge has said he was forced to disconnect solicitor Ammi Burke from an online hearing after she talked over him following his refusal of an application for the temporary release of her brother, schoolteacher Enoch Burke, from Mountjoy Prison.

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore got his registrar to briefly terminate the connection to the remote hearing this afternoon when Ms Burke refused to accept a ruling he had just made and interrupted him while he was speaking.

Ms Burke had sought to have her brother produced to the court this afternoon so he could make a legal application.

The incident is the latest in a series of clashes between the judiciary and members of the Burke family. It came just ten days after Enoch Burke and his mother Martina were removed from a hearing at the Court of Appeal for heated interruptions.

Mr Burke has been in jail since September 5 for breaching court orders restraining him from attending or attempting to teach students at Wilson’s Hospital School in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

The orders were secured after he kept turning up for work despite being suspended after publicly clashing with management over a request to address a transgender child by a new name.

Mr Burke, who is an evangelical Christian, claims that he could not comply with the request due to his religious beliefs.

His sister Ammi today, applied for a production order so that Mr Burke could be brought before the court this afternoon for the purpose of seeking a stay – or a halt – to the ongoing High Court case taken against him by his employers.

He wants to have the case delayed until after his appeal against various court orders in the matter is heard by the Court of Appeal, an appeal his sister Ammi today described as “a trial of the judges”.

However, Mr Justice O’Moore refused to grant the production order for several reasons.

These included that the school was entitled to reasonable notice of the stay application and must be given time to make legal submissions.

The judge said he had a busy list and other cases to deal with

He also said too many applications were being “made outside the proper form” in the proceedings.

“He can bring a motion grounded on an affidavit, but I am not going to direct the production of Mr Burke at three- or four-hours’ notice. I think that is not the reasonable notice to which the school is entitled,” Mr Justice O’Moore said.

The judge made the matter returnable to November 7, a date already set for the filing of Mr Burke’s defence and counterclaim in the proceedings.

Ms Burke replied that she was “very concerned” that the application would not be heard before then.

“He [Enoch Burke] is very concerned about the trial of the action being pushed ahead prior to the hearing of his appeal. He is seeking this stay and seeking it urgently,” she protested.

When the judge again explained his rationale and that he would be sympathetic to any subsequent application from Mr Burke for more time to file a defence and counterclaim, Ms Burke began to speak over him, saying his decision “doesn’t make any sense”.

At this point the judge directed his registrar to disconnect Ms Burke.

When the hearing resumed a few minutes later, Mr Justice O’Moore said: “Ms Burke, you were disconnected because you were talking over me.”

He said there was “absolutely no urgency” to justify Enoch Burke being brought before him today.

Ms Burke again began objecting to the decision, but the judge rose from the bench and walked out of the courtroom.

Mr Burke is not appealing the order jailing him for contempt of court.

However, he is asking the Court of Appeal to set aside orders including the temporary injunction restraining him from attending for work, and a subsequent High Court decision to keep the injunction in place pending a final hearing of the matter.

He is also appealing against the High Court’s dismissal of an application brought by him aimed at setting aside his suspension.

Should he be successful, it is likely he would be released from prison as the orders he is in contempt of would fall away.

He and member of his family clashed with Mr Justice Edwards in the Court of Appeal ten days ago when the judge said the appeal could not be heard before February 16 next year.

Mr Burke and his mother were removed from the courtroom, while there was also a flashpoint between Mr Justice Edwards and Ammi Burke.

Mr Justice Edwards directed that a transcript of the hearing be given to the disciplinary committee of the Law Society after Ms Burke interrupted and called the conduct of the proceedings “a disgrace”. He also threatened to hold her in contempt if she did not apologise to him.

However, he later rescinded that order when Ms Burke insisted she had not shouted at the judge.

Several judges have pointed out that Enoch Burke could secure his release by agreeing to purge his contempt. However, the schoolteacher has repeatedly refused to do so.

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