15 Aug 2022

Edgeworthstown man would have great difficulty abiding by any imposed curfew, judge hears

Tipperary District Court

A man charged with drugs possession, trespassing and handling stolen property was last week told by a judge that his difficulties in obeying strict curfew conditions was nothing short of “pure codology”.

Judge Seamus Hughes scoffed at suggestions put forward on John Ward (36), Ballynagoshen, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford’s behalf concerning his ability to stick to restrictions imposed by the court.

Mr Ward, together with his co-accused Catriona Connors (35) also of Ballynagoshen, Edgeworthstown, Longford came before last week’s District Court sitting charged with trespassing in order to commit the theft of assorted garden tools, bicycles, strimmers, gas cylinders and a lawnmower valued at €1200 from 10 Beechwood Park, Granard, Co Longford on February 25 2019.

The pair were also charged with handling stolen property on the same date at Cartroncar, Coolarty, Granard under the provisions of Section 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft & Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

Mr Ward was further charged with the unlawful possession of cannabis at Ballynagoshen, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford contrary to Sections 3 and 27 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.

Sgt Mark Mahon said he would be seeking an adjournment on the case until May 21 to allow for Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.

Solicitor for Ms Connors said his client was a mother of five who now resided in Tallaght with her sister.

It was also revealed Mr Ward was the father of Ms Connors’ children.

In defence, solicitor Frank Gearty said his client would have “great difficulty” in abiding by any curfew imposed after a request was made by Sgt Mahon for its inclusion.

“He is essentially homeless and feels he will be a sitting duck,” said Mr Gearty.

“He feels vulnerable as a human being in the caravan with the activities of people who might have a grievance with him.

“He gets agitated and is unable to stay in the one place for any length of time.”

However, in response Judge Hughes questioned the stance taken in defence of Mr Ward, adding his liberty would be even more compromised should a term behind bars come of the charges before the court.

“What if he got a prison sentence and was in an 8ft x 12ft room?”

Mr Gearty replied, saying the issue was one which the prison authorities might well have to decide upon.

“That would be the governor’s call,” said Mr Gearty, causing Judge Hughes to retort: “That’s pure codology.”

In a more light hearted take on Mr Ward’s supposed inability to abide by curfew conditions late at night, Judge Hughes remarked: “The best of TV is on after 10pm.”

In signing off on the case, a number of conditions were attached to both defendant’s bail terms.

They included to provide a mobile phone number to gardaí and remain contactable, to sign on twice weekly at Longford and Tallaght Garda Stations respectively.

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