Saturday 20 January 2018

Stokes assault case 'too serious' for District Court

Anthony Stokes, right, with his father John Stokes at Dublin District Court
Anthony Stokes, right, with his father John Stokes at Dublin District Court

Tom Tuite

REPUBLIC of Ireland and Celtic striker Anthony Stokes headbutted and injured a man during a row about a spilled drink in a Dublin nightclub, a court has heard.

The football star had been originally charged in March and made his second appearance at Dublin District Court yesterday where Judge Conal Gibbons asked to hear an outline of the prosecution's evidence.

Stokes (25) who is from Dublin, is facing claims he committed an offence under under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act. He is accused of assault causing harm to Elvis impersonator Anthony Bradley (42), at Buck Whaley's, on Leeson Street, on June 8 last year.

The DPP had directed "summary disposal" meaning the district court would be a suitable trial venue, however Judge Gibbons did not agree.

After he heard a summary of the allegations and reading medical reports on the complainant's injuries, he held yesterday that the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level which, on conviction, can impose a maximum sentence of 12 months for the alleged offence.

This means Stokes could now be facing trial before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Judge Gibbons said that as a result further directions from the DPP may be required.

The footballer was accompanied to the preliminary hearing by his father John Stokes who sat in the public gallery.

Dressed in a dark suit, the Celtic player did not address the court and sat silently as an outline of the prosecution's evidence was given.

The striker has not yet entered a plea and was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in July after the judge ruled that it would not be appropriate for the case to be heard in the district court.

At the outset of the proceedings yesterday defence solicitor Michael Staines said the DPP has directed "summary disposal" and it was now up to the presiding judge to consider whether or not he would accept jurisdiction.

In evidence, Detective Garda Des Rogers told Judge Gibbons it would be alleged that on June 8, 2013, at Buck Whaley's nightclub, "another unknown individual spilled a drink on the injured party and it is alleged Mr Stokes intervened and head-butted the injured party".

Two medical reports were then handed into court for the judge to inspect.

Refusing jurisdiction Judge Gibbons then said: "I have to say to you that based on these medical reports I do not think it is a minor offence."

The details of the man's injuries were not read out in court but the judge said that if they were such as described in the reports, "to my mind this is not a suitable case for the district court".

"This is a court of summary jurisdiction, I'm going to refuse jurisdiction, I do not think it is an appropriate case," Judge Gibbons added.

Stokes, who lives at Bellhaven Terrace in Glasgow, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again on July 17, "for DPP directions". Mr Staines asked for permission to be let apply to the court for his client to be excused from attending the proceedings on the next date in light of his occupation.

Judge Gibbons allowed it but specified that seven days' notice must be given.

Stokes had originally met investigating gardai by appointment in Dublin on March 6 last when the charge was put to him after which he "made no reply to caution".

Irish Independent

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