Van takes wrong turn bringing murder accused dad to court
A FATHER is to stand trial on charges of murdering his two sons.
Sanjeev Chada (43), from Ballinkillen, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, has been returned for trial at the Central Criminal Court after being served with the book of evidence.
He is facing charges of murdering his sons, Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (5), at Skehanagh, Ballintubber, Co Mayo, on July 29 last.
The charges followed the discovery of the bodies of the two boys in a car boot after the vehicle had crashed into a stone wall at Ballintubber, just four miles from Westport.
The accused man appeared at Castlebar District Court yesterday and sat in the body of the courtroom, waiting for his case to be called.
His wife Kathleen and two of her brothers sat at the rear of the court.
Detective Sergeant Gary Walsh gave evidence of serving the book of evidence on Mr Chada in Castlebar before the court sat.
As he was being led from the court by prison officers there was a brief interruption with cries of "murderer, child killer" and later "look at us!".
The hearing had been delayed earlier when it emerged that Mr Chada was not in court when his case was called.
Superintendent Pat Diskin said he was disappointed that the accused man was not present as he was being taken to the court by a Prison Service escort.
He apologised to Judge Mary Devins, who noted that the court had sat at 10.30am and added: "This is one of the most serious cases to come before the court and the Prison Service can't have this man in court on time.
"It shows a certain attitude to the District Court by the prison authorities which is not appreciated. If somebody is charged with murder, he should be here at 10.30am."
When Mr Chada was taken into court at 11.15am, the judge asked for an explanation for the delay.
A prison officer explained that he had collected Mr Chada from the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin at 6am but had taken a wrong turn in Roscommon.
Questioned further by the judge, the officer said that he had 12 years in the Prison Service, but there was no AA route planner available.
Judge Devins said: "I'm not impressed."
She advised the defendant that if he was to rely on an alibi he would have to give written details of that alibi to the prosecution within 14 days.
Defence solicitor James Hanley told the court that his client had been in receipt of legal aid since his initial appearance as he had no income.
The judge granted legal aid for his trial and made the court order returning him for trial to the current sittings of the Central Criminal Court.
Mr Chada did not speak during the brief hearing and sat with his head bowed throughout.