A MAN described as the "ringleader" of a feud between Traveller families appeared in court yesterday accused of threatening to shoot two officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
Christy 'Ditsy' Nevin (54) of St Michael's Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was granted bail by Judge John Neilan at a special sitting of Mullingar District Court.
Mr Nevin was among 62 men and one woman who were present for a remand hearing on charges arising from a major riot in Dalton Park in Mullingar on July 29, 2008.
However, fresh charges were brought against Mr Nevin yesterday morning, following an alleged incident at his caravan in St Michael's Park on April 28. He was charged with two counts of intimidation or threats to a CAB officer. Mr Nevin did not enter any plea.
Det Gda Martin Harrington told the court that he called to Mr Nevin's home accompanied by a local garda and two CAB officers on April 28 to serve the defendant with papers.
He said Mr Nevin emerged from the caravan wearing "no top" and removed his belt before swinging it in his hand. "He said he wouldn't take them (the papers) and to put them through the letterbox."
Det Gda Harrington said he thought Mr Nevin was going to "strike" the Revenue Bureau officer. He said that the defendant told the men to "get off the site" or he would shoot them and shoot himself before adding that he'd have "no problem" getting a gun and using it. He said Mr Nevin indicated this by pointing his fingers to symbolise a gun to his head.
He also said Mr Nevin threatened that he would get three men who approached to beat them up.
"He shouted abuse at us telling us to get off the site and not to come back," he added.
Defence solicitor Patricia Cronin said Mr Nevin was entitled to the presumption of innocence. She also said that her client had subsequently told her he had "no access" to a gun.
Judge Neilan said the allegations were "serious" as Mr Nevin had said he had access to a gun and he intended to "use it". He added, "There is a strong threat that these officers run the risk of losing their lives."
The judge also said the allegations would suggest that Mr Nevin was "clearly of a volatile nature and mentally unstable".
He asked if Mr Nevin was going to persist in making threats to which the defendant said it was a "slip of a word that came out on the day". He said he had "nothing against" the officers and apologised.
Ms Cronin said the defendant had met CAB officers on a number of occasions previously and there were no problems. Judge Neilan granted the defendant bail on his own cash bond of €1,000 and an independent surety of €2,000 cash.
Meanwhile, the other defendants who appeared in relation to the riot in Mullingar last July, were remanded on continuing bail to a special sitting of the court on June 8.