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Friday 16 November 2018

Man who drove car into RTE's front door jailed

Paul Stokes: jailed for driving car through doors of RTE
Paul Stokes: jailed for driving car through doors of RTE

Fiona Ferguson

A MAN who drove a car into the front doors of RTE's television studios was last night behind bars.

Paul Stokes was sentenced to two years in prison. But the second year was suspended on strict conditions and he has been ordered to stay away from RTE employees.

Stokes (52) of Montpelier Parade, Monkstown, Dublin, had pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage on December 2, 2006 and causing a substantial risk of death or serious injury.

But the State told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that it was not going ahead with a further charge that Stokes harassed RTE presenter Pat Kenny. He had been due to stand trial on this charge next January.

Garda Joseph Callahan told the court he feared Stokes would try to contact RTE employees after his release, specifically Pat Kenny, his family and his home.

Judge Desmond Hogan imposed a two-year sentence and suspended the last 12 months. However, he said Stokes could have to serve the full two years if he breached the conditions.

He ordered Stokes to enter a bond "not to annoy, molest or interfere with in any way employees of RTE, those contracted to RTE or their families".

He also ordered him to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years and to liaise with the probation service in relation to post-release psychiatric treatment.

Sean Gillane BL, defending Stokes, said his client had been "very very sick" at the time of the offences, having developed a fixation on road safety. He felt he was being ignored by "organs of public opinion".

Gda Callahan said Stokes gained entry to the RTE grounds by crashing a car through security barriers at the front entrance. Damage totalling €14,340 had been done to the doors.

Security men had restrained Stokes until gardai arrived and he was taken to Donnybrook garda station. He told gardai he was angry about a 'Sunday Independent' article of that day (December 2), based on his interruption of the 'Late Late Show' the previous week and his relationship with his daughter.

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