Longford man who threatened to burn security guard given suspended prison sentence

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

A man who appealed the severity of a 10 week prison sentence at this week’s circuit court sitting in Longford after he was convicted under the Public Order Act in the district court, had the term increased to three months, but suspended, following a hearing into the matter.  

Kevin Stokes, Lisnannagh, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson convicted of engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour at Royal Canal Park, Longford on July 16, 2017.

Outlining the evidence to the court, State solicitor Mark Connellan said that on the date in question Garda Sheil’s attendance was requested in the area after an assault along the Royal Canal was reported to gardaí.   

After speaking to a number of residents, the court heard the Garda subsequently made his way to the home of Kevin and Margaret Stokes in Edgeworthstown in an effort to carry out further investigations into the matter.  

Judge Johnson was also informed that the injured party in the case worked as a security guard at Penneys in Mullingar.

“On the day, William McKeon was at his home flying a drone in the green area when a black jeep parked up,” said Mr Connellan, before pointing out that when the injured party looked up he saw Kevin Stokes coming towards him.

“Mr Stokes said to him, ‘you put your hands on my child for stealing in Mullingar, who do you think you are? You were no better yourself when you were young’.”

Meanwhile, the court was told that Mr Mckeon’s partner subsequently came out of the house at that point and their eight-year-old daughter also witnessed the incident.  

“Kevin Stokes kept shouting at Mr McKeon, ‘we know where you live; we’ll burn you’,” Mr Connellan continued before providing some additional background details to the court.  

“Mr McKeon was deeply shocked by the incident; he said that he had been working at Penneys in Mullingar prior to that day when he observed Margaret Stokes and two youngsters coming into the store.  

“He said one of the youngsters put DVDs in a bag and as they were leaving the store Mr McKeon called them back.  

“€80 worth of DVDs was discovered in the bag.”

In mitigation, counsel for the defendant Mr Niall Flynn said his client and Mr McKeon were now back on speaking terms.

“They are back on speaking terms and have known each other for years,” Mr Flynn said.

“Both their fathers went to school together.

“I appreciate that it was a very sinister act but Mr Stokes has 13 children and suffers from complex mental health issues.  

“There has been a passage of time since the incident and there has been no issues between the parties since.”

In giving his ruling in the case, Judge Johnson said that Mr Stokes struck him as a bully.

He also added, “He is meek looking now but he wasn’t so meek on the day of his threats”.

Judge Johnson went on to say that the defendant’s behaviour was disgraceful.

“Intimidating someone who is only doing their job is totally unacceptable to this court and this is an extremely serious offence,” he continued.  

“This is outrageous behavior on the part of Mr Stokes.”

The Judge subsequently increased the prison sentence to three months but suspended it for three years on the grounds that the defendant keep the peace and be of good behavior.  

He also ordered Mr Stokes to hand over €1,000 in compensation to Mr McKeon.  

“You are to have no contact with Mr McKeon or Mr McKeon’s family or his home for the duration of the suspended sentence,” the Judge told Mr Stokes before concluding matters.  

“And you must also engage with all services available to you in relation to your psychiatric issues.”