A PUBLICAN and two other men have gone on trial accused of demanding another pub close within 24 hours.
John Stokes (55), who owns the Players Lounge in Fairview, Daryl Mulcahy (21) of Matt Talbot Court and Derek Nolan (30) from north Dublin have pleaded not guilty to demanding with menaces that the leaseholder close the Castle Inn public house in Summerhill “within 24 hours” on March 13th 2011.
Mr Stokes, who has an address in the UK, also pleaded not guilty to assault on a second man at the Castle Inn on the same date.
In his opening speech prosecuting counsel Paul Carroll BL told the jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that they will hear evidence that Mr Stokes called at the Castle Inn three times in one day.
He said the second man was working as a barman on the day when Mr Stokes told him: “I want yis out of there and if you’re not out by Paddy’s Day, you and the pub are gone.”
During a second visit on the same day Mr Stokes allegedly punched the second man in the chest.
Counsel said that during a third visit Mr Stokes was accompanied by Mr Nolan and Mr Mulcahy. On this occasion Mr Stokes allegedly told the barman: “You’re fronting the pub for O’Reilly. We’re giving you 24 hours to close the pub down, 24 hours and that’s the end of you.”
Mr Carroll said Mr Nolan and Mr Mulcahy then chased the second man down the road until they were spotted by two gardai on patrol.
The second man gave evidence that during the first visit Mr Stokes was accompanied by a man who is now deceased and a third person he didn’t recognise. He said Mr Stokes asked to speak to his brother Stephen, who owned the Castle Inn.
The businessman arrived shortly afterwards to speak to Mr Stokes. The witness said they had a conversation and that after Mr Stokes left, Stephen looked “shaken”.
The second man told the court that he later closed the pub early and was outside when he saw Mr Stokes arrive again in a taxi. He again asked to speak to the businessman and the second man responded that he was not there. He asked the accused what he wanted and Mr Stokes replied that it was about video footage.
Mr Stokes then allegedly said that he believed Stephen “was fronting the pub for O’Reilly.” The men then began shouting at each other and the second man pushed Mr Stokes.
Mr Stokes allegedly responded by punching the second man in the chest before leaving in the taxi.
The witness said Mr Stokes returned a third time accompanied by the other two accused and the deceased man. They said they wanted to see the businessman because they had received threatening phone calls from the Castle Inn.
The second man told the jury that he was confused and said to Mr Nolan that he “didn’t know what this was all about.” He said they asked him to ring his brother and that the deceased man then took his phone.
He said all four men got back in the car and that he walked a few metres up the road. He said when the car passed him he gave “the fingers” to Nolan and shouted a remark about his facial tattoo.
He said Mr Nolan and Mr Mulcahy then got out and started chasing him.
The trial continues before Judge Carmel Stewart and a jury of eight men and four women.