Sunday 17 November 2019

Couple accused of making false statements over 'shooting of dog'

In court: Edward and Sharon Stokes allege their dog was
shot by a garda
In court: Edward and Sharon Stokes allege their dog was shot by a garda
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A husband and wife have been accused of making false statements over the alleged shooting of their dog by a garda.

Edward and Sharon Stokes appeared in Dublin District Court facing charges over statements they made to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) about claims that the dog was shot in Longford in 2018.

The shooting allegedly happened when a garda discharged a firearm at the scene of a confrontation near Granard on December 3 that year.

Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the case for the accused to decide how they intend to plead.

The couple, from The Cottage, Ferskill, Coolarthy, Co Longford, are each accused of one count of providing information that they knew to be false or misleading to Gsoc.

The offence is alleged to have happened at the commission's offices at Abbey Street Upper, Dublin, on February 5, 2019.

The alleged false statements were in relation to a complaint or investigation under Part 4 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the charges allege.

The prosecution is being brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of Gsoc.

Sitting at the side of the court's public gallery, the accused came forward when their case was called.

State solicitor Michael Durkan said yesterday was the first court date after summonses were issued on October 1 this year.

The Stokes' barrister said she was making an application for full disclosure of prosecution evidence in the case, to include CCTV footage.

The judge was told it was a summary-only case, meaning it will be dealt with at district court level.

The Stokes' barrister applied for free legal aid, submitting a statement of their financial means to the court.

Reading this, the judge remarked that Mr Stokes was not in receipt of social welfare and asked: "How is he getting by?" The court was told the only household income was a domiciliary carer's allowance going to Ms Stokes and that Mr Stokes was seeking employment.

"I haven't had any work since this happened," he told the court.

The judge granted legal aid and ordered disclosure, to include CCTV.

The defendants have not yet indicated pleas to the court.

Previously, when the summonses were applied for, the court heard it was alleged the initial complaint was made by Edward Stokes, who said a firearm was discharged that shot his dog.

It was alleged that Mr Stokes subsequently attended Gsoc's offices and made a statement confirming the complaint, which was believed to be false.

In Sharon Stokes' case, she did not make the initial complaint but was also alleged to have made a subsequent statement to Gsoc in relation to the complaint which was believed to be false, the court was told.

The DPP later directed prosecutions.

Irish Independent

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