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28 Jan 2022

Garda assault accused to reappear before Longford District Court

Serious charges: Judge to decide jurisdiction at a later date

Garda assault accused to reappear before Longford District Court

A Longford garda has been unfit for duty since an incident in October, which left him with a number of injuries, including a dislocated shoulder and a broken finger following a car chase through Longford town.

Seán Stakelum (37), of Park Road, Longford, appeared in Longford District Court last Tuesday morning charged with dangerous driving, drink driving, driving under the influence of cocaine, resisting arrest and section 3 assault on the arresting garda.

Judge Seamus Hughes has requested a medical report detailing the injuries of the male garda and has adjourned the case to May 11, 2021.

Sgt Mark Mahon, for the state, told the court that Mr Stakelum was facing “very serious charges” and that the victim would not be fit to return to work for some time as a result of his injuries.

“He has not been fit to return to duty since and will not be fit to return to work any time in the near future. He suffered a dislocated shoulder, a broken finger, an injury to his elbow and soft tissue injuries,” said Sgt Mahon.

Relaying the facts to the court, he explained that gardaí on patrol on Sunday night, October 4, 2020, observed a car travelling at speed at the Market Square. The vehicle failed to come to a stop and continued to drive at speed through traffic lights and junctions, almost colliding with the railway bridge.

“It made a sudden right turn and overturned and hit a wall. A male exited the car and when he saw gardaí, he attempted to get back in,” said Sgt Mahon.

“Gardaí attempted to arrest him and an aggressive struggle ensued. The garda was pushed and fell to the ground. While arresting, he sustained a broken finger. Sgt Newton arrived at the scene shortly after.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that the case be heard in the District Court on a guilty plea only but the defence has indicated that no decision has been made on what course Mr Stakelum would be taking.

“I accept the sergeant has to put the details before the court but I would request that you don’t make a decision on jurisdiction today,” said solicitor for the defence, Brian Leahy, addressing Judge Seamus Hughes.

“Some of the details given are incorrect. The car did not turn over. He did get out and there was a scuffle.”

Mr Leahy noted that Judge Hughes was planning to adjourn the case to May for disclosure but requested that he hold off on deciding jurisdiction until then.

“When you get disclosure, there will have to be medical evidence. The DPP will request medical evidence and gardaí will have to get a consultant orthopaedic report,” said Judge Hughes.

“In fact, I’m surprised such a report is not already in existence and I’m surprised the DPP hasn’t asked for a medical report. But I will need medical evidence when the case comes before me again on May 11.”

Sgt Mahon confirmed that a medical report would be furnished to the court on that date. Judge Hughes indicated that the case was too serious to be heard at District Court level and that it would probably go to the Circuit Court.

“I will consider jurisdiction at a later date but from what I’ve heard so far, I will probably be refusing jurisdiction,” Judge Hughes concluded.

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