The Irish teacher Enoch Burke, who was incarcerated in Ireland for three months, has been released from prison in advance of Christmas despite his refusal to purge his contempt of court.
Mr Burke was jailed in September this year for breaching a court order which stopped him from attending work at the school from which he was suspended for refusing to address a student who was transitioning gender with a new name and using the “they” pronoun.
According to Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath, Mr Burke continued to turn up to the school for his previously timetabled hours despite the court order. An initial injunction was then put in place by the High Court, but after it was breached by Mr Burke he was jailed at Mountjoy Prison in Dublin.
His surprise release was announced yesterday by Mr Justice Brian O’Moore at a hearing in the High Court in Dublin.
The announcement came with an unusual interpretation. The judge determined that the imprisonment for contempt was not achieving its purpose because he felt that Mr Burke did not see it as a punishment but was instead achieving some higher purpose by refusing to purge his contempt.
The judge said that positions taken by Mr Burke at various stages of the proceedings were “illogical”, and had the effect of “prolonging his incarceration” and that “Mr Burke’s views about transgender people” are much better known now than before he was sent to Mountjoy Prison.
The judge said in his ruling, which was delivered electronically, that “it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mr Burke was exploiting his imprisonment for his own ends”, and this was a reason why Mr Burke had taken such “an unreal view of what orders from the High Court actually mean”.
In short, it seems the judge was not convinced that Mr Burke’s refusal to purge his contempt, or to accept early release, was based on his religious convictions.
Instead the judge believed that Mr Burke’s incarceration was fundamentally based on his refusal to accept transgenderism, with everything that followed – suspension, disciplinary action, High Court orders and ultimately, jail – stemming from this initial issue.
“This purpose was turned on its head when the person concerned is prepared to endure the undoubted discomforts of being imprisoned to obtain some greater benefit, as they see it,” he said…Court frees gender ideology prisoner of conscience – Catholic Herald