30 Jun 2022

Longford pharmacist told to stay away from garda he allegedly assaulted

Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes

A Longford pharmacist accused of drug driving and dislocating the shoulder of a garda after a high speed chase last year has been told to stay away from his alleged victim after a court heard he attempted to approach the officer last weekend.

Sean Stakelum (37) 2A Park Road, Longford agreed to abide by the condition after it was revealed gardaí raised a "matter of concern" following an alleged incident in which Garda Barry Gillespie was allegedly approached by Mr Stakelum.

The locally based pharmacist had previously appeared before Longford District Court on March 2 arising out of an incident in Longford town on October 4 and 5 2020.

On that occasion, it was revealed how the accused had allegedly been the driver of a car which had been travelling at high speed along the Market Square area of town.

The court was told after gardai gave chase after the car failed to stop and almost collided with a railway bridge before continuing to travel at high speed. into a residential housing estate where it overturned.

It was revealed a male had allegedly exited the vehicle and attempted to return to the car moments later where an "aggressive struggle" with gardai ensued.

During the course of that exchange, Garda Gillespie was allegedly pushed to the ground, suffering a dislocated shoulder as a result.

The male officer, who has not returned to official duty since the incident, also suffered a broken finger while attempting to escort the accused man into a garda patrol car.

Inspector Paddy McGirl said Garda Gillespie would not be returning to work until July "at the earliest" on the advice of the force's chief medical officer.

He also added the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had given consent for the case to be heard in the District Court on a guilty plea only.

Mr Stakelum, alongside the alleged assault charge, was also charged with being under the influence of cocaine, drink driving as well as dangerous driving.

Defence solicitor Brian Leahy said his client would not be entering a plea at this stage, adding he would be seeking detailed records of Garda Gillespie's medical history prior to the alleged incident.

He also applied for all medical certificates which had been handed in by Garda Gillespie to his superiors since the incident and whether the officer possessed the necessary training and qualifications in dealing with the alleged episode.

Inspector McGirl said a medical report detailing Garda Gillespie's alleged injuries had already been supplied to the defence but stressed requests for previous medical documents relating to the garda was not applicable to a criminal court.

He also said Garda Gillespie's use of force in dealing with the alleged incident was "proportionate" to the circumstances which unfolded on the night.

Judge Hughes agreed with those submissions and declined the application made by the defence.

Inspector McGirl said gardaí were concerned about an "issue" which had been alleged last weekend in which Mr Stakelum was believed to have come across Garda Gillespie.

Mr Leahy, however, responded by arguing Garda Gillespie's injuries were so grave he was unable to come to court and give evidence.

"Either you are sick or not sick," he said.

Inspector McGirl said the alleged incident had been "very distressing" for his wife and young children, who were present.

Mr Leahy consequently gave an undertaking for his client to steer clear of Garda Gillespie with Judge Hughes adjourning matters until June 22.

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