Man charged over evic­tion in­ci­dent

The Irish Times - - Home News - DAR­RAGH KELLY

A 53-year-old Done­gal man has been re­manded in cus­tody to ap­pear be­fore Har­ris­town Dis­trict Court on Jan­uary 18th charged with vi­o­lent dis­or­der dur­ing an evic­tion at a farm in Falsk, near Strokestown, Co Roscom­mon, last month.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for bail was re­fused by Judge Deirdre Gearty at a spe­cial sit­ting of Roscom­mon Dis­trict Court on Satur­day evening over what gar­daí de­scribed as “po­ten­tial wit­ness in­tim­i­da­tion”.

The ac­cused, PJ Sweeney of High Cairn, Ramelton, was charged with vi­o­lent dis­or­der on De­cem­ber 16th last at a house where the McGann fam­ily had been evicted from their home some days ear­lier. Ev­i­dence of ar­rest, charge and cau­tion was given by Sgt Maura McGarry of Boyle Garda sta­tion who said she ar­rested the ac­cused at Castlerea Garda sta­tion on Satur­day and charged him. The ac­cused made no re­ply to the charge. The ac­cused’s so­lic­i­tor, Alan Gan­non, said his client had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions other than an of­fence un­der the li­cens­ing laws in 2010.

Mr Gan­non said his client would be plead­ing not guilty to the sin­gle charge. The court was told the ac­cused is in a long-term re­la­tion­ship with his part­ner and is the fa­ther of five chil­dren, rang­ing in age from 11 to 30 years of age and has one grand­child.

Bank­rupt

Mr Gan­non said Mr Sweeney is bank­rupt, has no bank ac­counts and is not a flight risk. And he “strongly ob­jected” to his client be­ing re­manded in cus­tody. The ac­cused’s so­lic­i­tor said his client was will­ing to sur­ren­der his travel doc­u­ments and sign on at ei­ther Mil­ford or Let­terkenny Garda sta­tions. The ac­cused told the court he was un­em­ployed at present but due to start a new job “in two weeks’ time”

Re­mand­ing Mr Sweeney in cus­tody, the judge said al­though the ac­cused en­joyed the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence un­til proven guilty, she was sat­is­fied the charge be­fore the court was a very se­ri­ous one, car­ry­ing a se­ri­ous penalty.She said her main worry was Garda con­cerns over the po­ten­tial in­tim­i­da­tion of wit­nesses which she re­marked­noted, the ac­cused “had not dealt with” while in the wit­ness box.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for le­gal aid was granted by the judge.

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