Longford Circuit Court: Judge revokes bail after teenager breaches bail conditions

Teen, together with two co-accused, to be sentenced in May for 'very serious' St Patrick's Day assault

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A teenager accused of carrying out a “very serious” assault on a Portuguese national on St Patrick's Day last year has had his bail revoked after breaching the terms of his bail conditions.

State prosecutors last week brought an application against Brandon McDonnell, 34 College Park, Longford after it emerged he had been sentenced to four months in prison for carrying out a theft in Newtownforbes on November 25, 2017.

That sentence was handed down by Judge Seamus Hughes while Mr McDonnell was on bail, and a matter of days after he had pleaded guilty before the Circuit Court to a Section 4 assault in Longford town on March 17, 2018.

Two other co-accused, one of which is a juvenile have also pleaded guilty, and like Mr McDonnell, are awaiting sentencing.

Shane Geraghty, prosecuting, said one of Mr McDonnell's key bail conditions, was to refrain from committing any further offences, something he failed to adhere to by carrying out a theft at The Shop, Ballagh in Newtownforbes back in November

“The position is he (Mr McDonnell) committed the offence while on bail,” he said.

“He went to the High Court regarding two robbery charges before Mr Justice Heneghan.”

Mr Geraghty added because Mr McDonnell had since pleaded guilty to the Section 4 assault on January 11 2018, he no longer enjoyed the presumption of innocence. “That, in my view, is critical to this case,” said Mr geraghty .

Garda Aisling Flynn said an up to date medical report concerning the injured party was now available.

She said the victim had been left with significant scarring, was seeing a plastic surgeon and and suffered nerve damage to one of his eyes.

“He (victim) has to tape his eye shut at night so he can go to sleep,” she said.

Defence counsel Niall Flynn said his client had made full admissions in relation to the offences before the court as he questioned the timing of the State's application to remand Mr McDonnell in custody.

“On January 11 he pleaded guilty and there was no objection to bail made on that occasion.

“The guards and the State then, two weeks later, decide to bring an application to revolke bail?”

Mr Flynn said the teenager had also enjoyed a commendable record during his time in protective custody with no P19 disciplinary reports being made against him.

He said the circumstances behind the State's application to revoke Mr McDonnell's bail was inopportune and gave the defence no time to mount a counter argument .

“I would argue that we (defence) should haven been put on notice,” he said.

He also attempted to play down State assertions that his client was looking at an inevitable custodial sentence.

Judge John Hannon nonetheless sided with the State's application, given the “very serious matter” which Mr McDonnell was now awaiting sentencing for.

“He was granted High Court bail on July 11, 2017 and was subject to fairly stringent conditons , one of which involved not committing any offences (while on bail),” he said.

The fact he had now been convicted of having breached those terms arising from the Newtownforbes incident last November, Judge Hannon said he had been left with little option but to revoke Mr McDonnell's bail.

In doing so, he remanded the 18-year-old in custody until May 31 when, it's anticipated, sentencing for the St Patrick's Day incident, will be handed down.