Longford District Court: €6,500 for assault victim

Three men convicted of assaulting man on Ballinalee Road

Longford District Court: €6,500 for assault victim

Three men who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged with assault were ordered to pay over €6,000 in compensation between them to the victim.

One of the defendants was also sentenced to eight months in prison after the Judge determined that he was the orchestrator of the assault.

Kevin Stokes Sr and Kevin Stokes Jr both of Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with assaulting Alphonsus Dodd and causing him harm.

Ian Harvey, 15 Glasson Lodge, Prospect Woods, Longford was also charged with assaulting Alphonsus Dodd and causing him harm on the same date.

Garda Karl Foley told the court that on April 22, 2015 he was on duty at Longford Garda Station when he was alerted to an incident on the Ballinalee Road in Longford town.

Garda Foley said that Alphonsus Dodd had been assaulted and that he later spoke to the victim.

“Mr Dodd outlined to me that he had been walking on the Ballinalee Road at 3:30pm when a silver Opel Astra car stopped across the road from him.

“He said he spoke to his uncle Kevin Stokes Sr about a previous incident in which Mr Dodd was a witness.

“Mr Stokes asked Mr Dodd to withdraw his complaint and when he said he wouldn’t, three other men got out of the car and ran for him.”

The court heard Mr Dodd was attacked and left in a ditch “covered in mud”.

The court was told that four people were later charged in connection with the incident - the three defendants, and a minor whom the Judge did not convict following the court hearing.

During cross examination solicitors for the Stokes and Mr Harvey, Michael McDarby and Mark Cooney argued that there was no evidence linking their clients to the assault because there was no CCTV on the Ballinalee Road.

The court was also told that the Stokes family had CCTV installed at their home in Lisnanagh and that when that was examined on the date of the incident, it was clear that they had not left the house at all that day.

Photographic evidence of the injuries sustained by the victim was then furnished to the court and a medical report was also handed over.

Inspector Padraig Jones told the court that on the date in question, he was leaving Longford Courthouse at approximately 3:30pm when a member of the public approached him and told him that an incident had taken place at St Mel’s Cathedral.

“I made my way there and as I was approaching the Temperance Hall I saw a man covered in mud and all I could see were his eyes,” Inspector Jones continued.

“I didn’t know it was Alphonsus Dodd at the time, but when I asked him if he was okay, he said ‘the Stokes did this to me’.

Taking the stand, Mr Dodd told the court he had been returning from the Social Welfare offices in Longford town on the date of the incident and was chatting to his daughter on the phone when he heard a voice calling him.

“I looked around and saw Kevin Stokes Sr driving the car; he was the one talking and he asked me to withdraw my statement and I said no,” added Mr Dodd who claimed Mr Stokes said to him, ‘you must want to be left in a pool of blood’.

“He drove the car a couple of inches and I heard him say ‘give it to him now lads’.”

The court then heard that Mr Dodd saw three men get out of the car and Mr Harvey reached into the back of the car and took out a wheel brace.

“I grabbed the wheel brace and held on to it, but they pulled it out of my hand and I knew then that I was in trouble,” said Mr Dodd.

“I ran and Kevin Stokes Jr came after me and kicked and kicked and kicked me in the face.

“Ian Harvey came along then and hit me in the hip with the wheel brace.”

The court heard at this point, the minor appeared with a hammer and that Mr Dodd pleaded with him not to harm him any further.

By now, Mr Dodd had tripped and fallen into a ditch and with little room to move, he was surrounded by the men, the court heard.

“He [the minor] looked at me, turned on his heels and left,” said Mr Dodd.

Under cross examination by Mr McDarby who was representing the Stokes in the case, it was pointed out to Mr Dodd that he had given evidence against Mr Stokes before.

“The windows and doors in my girlfriend’s house were broken but I never said I saw anyone breaking them,” fumed Mr Dodd in response to the allegations.

Mr McDarby then pointed out that his client had been blamed for the damage and Mr Dodd’s girlfriend said Mr Stokes did it.

“The fact is that my clients simply were not there when the assault against you took place. Isn’t that right?,” he said to Mr Dodd.

“Oh they were there all right,” replied Mr Dodd.

Mr McDarby then went on to say that everyone knew that Mr Dodd and Kevin Stokes Sr did not get along.

“Kevin Stokes Sr says you want to stitch him up - why would you do that?”

In his direct evidence to the court, Kevin Stokes Sr said that he was at home on the date of the incident and never saw Alphonsus Dodd at all that day.

“I take very heavy medication and was at home in the house with my children,” Mr Stokes continued.

“I take anti depressants and medication for schizophrenia and panic attacks and all the medication makes me tired.

“I would love to put my arms around my nephew - I love him.”

Under cross examination by Inspector Ollie Baker, Mr Stokes was asked if he had his medication in court with him.

“No, sure the guards could do me for having that amount of medication on me,” replied Mr Stokes.

Margaret Stokes then took to the stand.

She said she was certain that she was not on the Ballinalee Road that day and that she was the person in the family who did all the driving.

When Kevin Stokes Jr gave his evidence to the court, he said the incident with Mr Dodd “never happened”.

“None of us were there; I’m 100% I was not there.”

Inspector Baker then asked Mr Stokes why Mr Dodd would say such things if Mr Stokes wasn’t even there that day.

“Sure he has lied before over breaking his windows,” he replied.

Inspector Baker then pointed out that Mr Dodd had not made any accusations against anyone in respect of that matter and he asked the defendant how he would describe relations between himself and Mr Dodd.

“They wouldn’t be great,” said Mr Stokes.

“His brothers knocked me down with a car in September 2014.”

When Mr Harvey took to the stand, he insisted that he had been with his girlfriend on the day of the incident.

“I know Mr Dodd but I wasn’t there and I don’t understand why I was brought into this,” he added.

“I was in Kevin Stokes’ house that day and I was with my girlfriend that day as well.”

Mr Harvey then told the court that he was good friends with Kevin Stokes Jr.

Putting forward some mitigating factors, Mr McDarby said that this was the third time that Kevin Stokes Sr had appeared in court as a result of Mr Dodd.

“My clients have to prove that they were not on the Ballinalee Road that day and this is a very difficult thing for them to do,” the solicitor added.

In respect of Mr Harvey, solicitor Mark Cooney said his client had no issues with Mr Dodd and it was clear in fact, that Mr Dodd’s account of events that day “did not add up” .

Summing up, Inspector Baker said it was clear that “something” did happen that day.

“Gardaí were alerted to an incident; Inspector Jones met Mr Dodd covered in mud and Mr Dodd’s story has remained consistent in his evidence at all times,” the Inspector continued.

“There is no evidence on the CCTV footage to indicate that the Stokes family were at the house - as they say they were - and there is huge gaps in the evidence of all the defendants.

“Mr Dodd, however, is an upstanding member of society.”

During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said it was clear to him that there was “something going on between the Dodds and the Stokes”.

“Mr Dodd was injured and Inspector Jones said that as he left the court, he was told that an assault had taken place.”

The Judge went on to say that Mr Dodd had been put under strenuous cross examination and had performed “most creditably” in the witness box.

“I am not impressed with the Stokes',” continued Judge Hughes.

“They are not credible witnesses - I don’t trust them.

“I fully accept Alphonsus Dodd’s evidence and I’m going to convict.”

The Judge subsequently sentenced Kevin Stokes Sr to eight months in jail and ordered him to pay €2,250 in compensation to Mr Dodd.

Kevin Stokes Jr was also ordered to pay €2,250 in compensation to Mr Dodd while Mr Harvey was ordered to pay €2,000 in compensation.

Kevin Stokes Sr then indicated that he would appeal his sentence.