Couple to face trial over Granard incident

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Couple to face trial over Granard incident

A husband and wife who were allegedly involved in a confrontation which resulted in a garda sergeant discharging his firearm have been sent forward for trial.

Sharon (32) and Edward Stokes (30), both of Ferriskill, Granard, were served with books of evidence at a recent sitting of Longford District Court following an incident at the aforementioned address on December 3, 2018.

Mr Stokes was charged with three offences including criminal damage, possession of a slashook and failing to control a German shepherd dog during the course of an encounter involving a garda sergeant.

It is alleged Mr Stokes commanded a German shepherd type dog, that he was in control of, to attack the Sergeant allowing the dog to grab hold of the Sergeant's necktie by its teeth.

And that he failed to call off the dog despite the warnings of the Sergeant which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another.

The incident, which made national headlines, coincided with the release of video footage online which appeared to show the garda being grabbed by his neck tie.

It was previously reported a dog was shot and Mr Stokes was shot in the foot during the incident which occurred near his home.

The garda sergeant involved, who has since been promoted, was cleared last year of any wrongdoing after a lengthy investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman (GSOC).

Ms Stokes was charged with one count of possessing a slashook on the same date contrary to Section 11 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Judge Seamus Hughes gave the pair the alibi warning, telling both they must provide to the state within 14 days details of any alibi they intend to rely on in the course of their trial.

Mr Stokes, who sat beside his wife in the public gallery, stayed silent throughout the course of the short hearing.

Counsel for the defence, Pat O’Sullivan BL, applied for a senior counsel in respect of both his clients due to the nature of the charges involved.

“This is a very serious incident and relates to the discharge of a firearm by a garda,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

State Solicitor Mark Connellan made no objection to the request with the couple being remanded on continuing bail to a sitting of Longford District Court on October 6.