Saturday 24 August 2019

High Court frees protestors refused bail by District judge

Bill Corcoran

A GROUP of 12 protesters charged with public order offences at the May Day protest at Phoenix Park last Saturday were remanded in custody by a district court judge for a further eight days yesterday.

They were subsequently released on bail by a High Court judge.

The 12 protesters - who had already spent three days in custody on charges ranging from breaching the peace to failing to obey garda directions - were among 19 protestors appearing at Cloverhill District Court on charges arising out of the disturbances at the anti-capitalist rally.

They had been arrested initially and remanded in custody last Saturday night but six of them had been admitted to bail during the following three days.

Applications for bail were made by solicitors on behalf of the remaining protestors who had stayed in custody and in most cases, Garda Sgt Brendan Stynes said, he had no objection to bail.

However, Judge John Coughlan refused each individual application for bail. When asked why he was refusing bail, he said it was due to the "serious nature of the offence".

All of the protesters arrested following the disturbances outside Phoenix Park, bar one, were charged under Section 4, 6 or 8 of the Public Order Act.

The court heard that unless Maynooth student Fergal Mawe (21) was released on bail he could miss his exams but Judge Coughlan replied that he should have thought about his exams when he turned up at the May Day protest.

The court also heard that co-accused Robert McKevitt's five- and eight-year-old children were unaware of their father's whereabouts and were "fretful and upset". However, again bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody to May 12 next.

Another defendant, Harry Johnstone (20), of Rathgar Rd, Dublin 6 was on bail in relation to the charge of stealing a garda cap. He was remanded back in custody.

A spokesperson for the Grass Roots Network, an organisation representing a number of anti-globalisation groups involved in the weekend's protests, said Judge Coughlan had sent a clear message that political protests were not to be tolerated.

Remanded in custody to appear at Court 46 on May 12 next were: Tom Barkley (21), Leinster Rd, Rathmines, Dublin 6; Lee Cummins (22), Ashbrooke Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6; Killien Dowling (20), Georgian Village, Castleknock, Dublin; Dan Glass (20), Denewood, New Barnett, Hertfordshire, England; Conor Lynch (23), Piltown, Kilkenny; Robert McKevitt (26) Collinstown Grove, Clondalkin; David McNamara (24), Ashfield, Old Portmarnock; Fergal Mawe (21), Meadowbrook Cresant, Maynooth; James O'Hare (42), Hollybank Rd, Drumcondra; Tony Power (29), Riverwood Gardens, Castleknock, and Fergus Robson (19), Leeson Park, Dublin 4.

Stephen McCann (21), Hilton Lodge, Waltham Terrace, Blackrock; Sean McKenna (25), Grange Road, Baldoyle, and Barry O'Donovan (31), High Street, Kilkenny, were remanded on continuing bail to June 16 next.

Sean McGrath (20), Beaufield Cresant, Maynooth and David Storey (21) Windmill Avenue, Swords were remanded in custody with consent to bail to appear at court 46 on June 2 next.

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