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28 Jun 2022

Judge refuses application to change plea for Longford violent disorder incident

Judge refuses application to change plea for Longford violent disorder incident

A man who pleaded guilty to his involvement in a violent disorder incident at a bar in Granard on October 7, 2018, has had an application to change his plea refused.

The man was aged 15 and a minor at the time of the offence.

His application was based on an affidavit in which he claims he did not receive proper consultation from his legal team and that he was informed that the CCTV footage was “damning” and that he was likely to be convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.

He further stated that, immediately after pleading guilty, he emailed his solicitors asking to change his plea to not guilty.

“In the court hearing to set aside his guilty plea, it became obvious that the accused had the book of evidence and that he had gone through it in detail,” said Judge Keenan Johnson.

“This is evidenced by a commentary which he sent to his then solicitors on the day before he pleaded guilty, relating to the book of evidence.

“It has to be said that, from reading of the commentary, it indicates that the accused was clutching at straws in an effort to get some legal mechanism to avoid being convicted of the charge.”

CCTV footage viewed in court gave clear evidence that the case against the accused was “virtually insurmountable”.

“The accused is clearly seen going to the location of the bar, armed with a baton or stick,” said Judge Johnson.

“He is also seen using that implement to hit an individual in the bar.”

Judge Johnson further stated that he was satisfied that “in light of the CCTV footage, he had no option other than to plead guilty”.

He therefore refused the application and the case will appear for full hearing at a later date.

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