Edgeworthstown defendant tells judge: 'You are a fair man'

Court agrees to relax bail conditions for Edgeworthstown man

Longford Leader

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Road accident case comes to abrupt end in court

A man accused of criminally damaging two cars and engaging in threatening behaviour in Longford town last year has had his bail terms relaxed.

Kevin Stokes (45), Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, appeared at last week’s District Court sitting alongside his two sons, Kevin Jnr (25) and Dylan Stokes (19).

The trio are charged with trespassing at Apartment 12 Berkeley, The Court Yard, Newtownforbes on November 20 2017 contrary to Section 13 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

The trio are also charged with damaging two cars, a black Passat and a grey Citroen contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 and of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour.

All three incidents happened along the Park Road area of Longford town six days following the previous episode in Newtownforbes.

Sgt Martin Mahon said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had still not ruled on what course the case should take and instead sent back a direction seeking “further information” on the matter.

They were revelations which drew a terse reaction from Mr Stokes Snr’s defence solicitor Brid Mimnagh.

She said her client was pushing for the charges to be struck out and was becoming more and more aggrieved by the length the case was taking.

“Five months this is going on,” she argued.

“We did ask for it (strike out) on March 13.”

Ms Mimnagh said failing that, Mr Stokes would be requesting a relaxation of sorts in terms of his present bail conditions.

“We consented to a short adjournment to May 1 (last Tuesday) as we were assured the DPP directions would be back,” she contended.

Mr Stokes, who had remained silent until that point, addressed Judge Hughes directly in an attempt to reduce the frequency of having to sign on at Granard Garda Station.

“The reason is my cousins are over in Granard and you could bump into some of them and have an argument,” he told the court.

He added this scenario had played out on a previous occasion at the garda station, resulting in both factions having to be kept apart.

Mr Stokes said his concerns were more focused on the younger members of those he was at odds with, describing them as “very mouthy.”

“We don’t look for trouble and I never, for the whole length of time I have known you I have never broken a bail condition,” he told the judge.

In a bid to press home his admiration for the Mayo born judge, he left the court in fits of laughter when relaying the respect he held for him.

“I know you can be cross, but you would always say hello to me on the street and you are a fair man,” he remarked.

When asked what the State felt should the court bow to Mr Stokes’ request, Sgt Mahon said the prosecution would be standing firm.

“With the seriousness of the charges and previous history in relation to the individuals involved and there is also the possibility of intimidation of witnesses,” he stated.

That prompted Mr Stokes’ wife, who was sitting at the back of the courtroom, to approach the bench and plead with Judge Hughes to reconsider.

“They (gardaí) put bail conditions on that he has to be in for 11pm at night but for five months that this had been going on, not one garda has rang his phone or come to the house to see if he has broken the bail conditions,” she said.

Looking somewhat empathetic to that appeal, Judge Hughes asked Mr Stokes what day he was keen to avoid having to sign on.

After being told that Saturday’s were an inconvenience for him, Judge Hughes removed that order, allowing Mr Stokes to sign on once a week on Wednesdays.