Father of Celtic star Anthony Stokes denied Legal Aid after trial
Published 12/05/2014 | 12:24
The State will not have to pay the legal costs of a publican who was accused of threatening another pub owner to close their premises within 24 hours.
All charges were dropped against John Stokes (57), who owned the Players Lounge in Fairview, after his trial collapsed following legal argument. His defence team were seeking to have the State pay the costs of the four day trial.
Earlier today, Judge Carmel Stewart said that she was making no order for costs against the prosecution.
She noted that past legal rulings state that a person may be entitled to their costs if they are acquitted by a jury or by direction of a trial judge.
However she said there is no authority which states that an accused is entitled to costs when the charges against them have been withdrawn, as happened in Mr Stokes’ case. She said that as a result, she has no jurisdiction to make an order for costs against the State.
Mr Stokes’ solicitor Michael Staines indicated he would be appealing the decision.
Mr Stokes (55), who has an address in England, Daryl Mulcahy (23) of Matt Talbot Court and Derek Nolan (32) from north Dublin had pleaded not guilty to demanding with menaces that a businessman close the Castle Inn Public House in Summerhill “within 24 hours” on March 13, 2011.
Mr Stokes had also pleaded not guilty to the assault of Shane Simpson at the Castle Inn on the same date.
The three men went on trial in April last year but the trial collapsed following several legal issues and Judge Stewart discharged the jury.
Last March Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the Director of Public Prosecutions was withdrawing all counts and would not be proceeding with a retrial.
Mr Stokes had also been charged with unlawfully possessing cocaine worth €200 and two stun guns at the Players Lounge, on April 8 2011. These charges have also been dropped, the court heard.
At the end of the trial last year Judge Carmel Stewart told the jury that because of “an accumulation of matters” arising from legal argument, she could not allow the trial to continue.
Before the end of the trial, one of the complainants, Mr Simpson, testified that he had lied about allegations to gardai because crime journalist Paul Williams told him he was going to be shot.
Mr Simpson claimed that the statement he gave to gardai alleging the threats against him and the pub were false and that what really happened was more benign.
He told prosecuting counsel that he made up the accusations about the threats after being interviewed by Mr Williams concerning the incident.
He said the journalist convinced him that if he didn’t “go further” with the matter his life would be in danger and he would have to leave the country and not come back.
“I felt I had to lie in the statement,” he told counsel. “I know it was wrong but that’s the reason.”
He said he trusted Mr Williams to tell him the truth and “didn’t think he would lie to me.”
Counsel put the original garda statements to Mr Simpson in which he says Mr Stokes told him: “We’re giving you 24 hours to close the pub down, 24 hours and that’s the end of you.”
Mr Simpson also told gardai the two other accused chased him down the street and that he was so scared he soiled himself. He told gardai he thought he going to be killed and was relieved when he saw the gardai coming
In court he told counsel that this was a lie and he never soiled himself. He claimed that Mr Stokes’ reference to 24 hours was that he had 24 hours to get his brother Stephen to contact the accused.
In his garda statement, Mr Simpson also alleged Mr Stokes told a doorman at the pub to “get off the door you foreign c***, you Romanian b******.”
He told the jury he had also lied about this because he was in fear after talking to the journalist.
The trial lasted four days and was taken up mostly by legal argument in the absence of the jury. Mr Simpson was the only witness to appear before it collapsed.