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22 May 2022

Man allowed back to Longford despite Garda objections

Man allowed back to Longford despite Garda objections

A man who was previously warned to stay out of Longford has successfully applied to have his bail conditions varied to allow him to return, despite Garda objections.

William Stokes, 68 Gleann Riada, Longford, appeared before Judge Kevin Kilraine, and made an application to vary bail conditions to allow him to move back to Longford to his father’s house.

The court heard that Mr Stokes has been living in Dublin with his partner and her family and that thirteen people were living in a three-bedroom house.

“I don’t want to come around Longford town,” Mr Stokes explained, “I want to move to my father’s house. Me and my father are very close. He reared me.”

He also explained that he hadn’t missed any sign-ons since he was last up in court, that he had paid a bail bond of €1,000 and that his father had lodged independent surety of €500.

“At the present moment, how is your relationship with the injured party?” asked Sgt Mark Mahon.

“I’ve had no contact with them,” Mr Stokes replied.

“Has peace been restored?” asked Sgt Mahon.

“No,” said Mr Stokes.

His solicitor, Ms Fiona Baxter pointed out that peace has not been restored because there is a condition on his bail that he have no contact with the injured party.

“I have huge concerns and gardaí have huge concerns that this man would be a massive draw on resources,” said Sgt Mahon.

“If he was in the town, he may be a target. The victims may feel vulnerable.”

“Sergeant, I hear what you have to say, that he may be of threat to the victims and witnesses but he is living in Dublin in very unsatisfactory conditions,” said Judge Kilraine.

“It’s not a million miles away from Edgeworthstown. Anyone is capable of hopping on a train to Edgeworthstown. It’s not as if the parties are hugely separated. So I’m not entirely concerned by that condition.

“As for him becoming a target, I don’t live on the moon. I’m aware of certain feuds in Longford. I’m not sure they could be seen as a target.”

Sgt Mahon requested that the issue be put back to the following week’s court sitting, as gardaí had not been put on notice of the application until that morning.

“I don’t think it can be advanced much further,” said Judge Kilraine.

“There’s some sort of feud going on and by moving back to Longford, certain conditions can be crafted that he stay out of the town.

“I’m of a mind to grant bail on strict conditions. I note the objection and that may have to be dealt with by application to remove bail. I’m not happy with his living conditions in Dublin.

“So, I’m noting your objection but I’m going to grant bail with strict conditions.”

With that, Judge Kilraine dropped the independent surety and changed Mr Stokes’ address to 68 Gleann Riada. However, he is to stay out of Longford town and Edgeworthstown save for court appearances and medical appointments.

He is also to limit his movement in Longford and is not to travel outside of 200m from his father’s house, save for the aforementioned reasons.

“If you’re going to Mullingar Hospital, you’re not to stop,” said Judge Kilraine.

Mr Stokes’ original condition to sign on twice daily was reduced to once daily a few weeks prior to his appearance in Longford.

Judge Kilraine agreed to drop the sign-on conditions completely but ordered him to remain contactable by mobile phone 24/7.

He is also to abide by a curfew of 8pm to 8am and to cooperate with gardaí who inspect the curfew.

“I want you to understand you’ve just about made those conditions,” Judge Kilraine concluded.

Mr Stokes is due to reappear at Longford Circuit Court on January 11, 2022, at 10.30am.

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