THERE was a tight garda presence at Letterkenny District Court on Monday as two men were brought before Judge Paul Kelly charged with a serious assault which left another man in intensive care last weekend.
On Monday Gerard Ward, 31 of 9 Fernhill, Letterkenny was sent to prison for nine months on separate charges and the other defendant Thomas McDonagh of 42 Hazlebrook Crescent was released on bail.
There were a large number of Gardai both outside and inside the courthouse while the two defendants were led into court by detectives led the two men into court.
Garda Detective Paul Harte told the court that he arrested both men under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act on February 18, in relation to an incident in which a 31-year-old man was attacked in the Glenard Park area of Letterkenny last Friday night.
Superintendent Vincent O’Brien told Judge Paul Kelly that as a result of the attack, the injured party received a fractured skull which required 22 staples to the head.
He added that there was garda consent to bail, subject to a number of conditions.
These included that both men reside outside Letterkenny, surrender their passports, undertake not to contact any witnesses in the case and provide a mobile phone number on which they are available to be contacted by gardai at all times.Counsel for Thomas McDonagh, Mr Brian Storan (BL) told the court that his client was the father of eight children, six of whom attend school in Letterkenny.
He maintained it would be a “particularly onerous condition” for him to reside outside Letterkenny.
The Superintendent stated his purpose was to “quell a situation which is developing in Letterkenny. And the only way to do that is to have him not reside here”.
McDonagh was released on bail which was granted on the conditions that he reside with his sister outside Donegal. He has also been ordered not to interfere with any potential witnesses, to sign on at a Garda station once per week and hand over his UK passport to Gardai.
His sister put forward an independent surety of €1,000 in cash, with the remaining €2,000 to be frozen in her bank account. Gardai asked that the address where McDonagh will stay should not be published.
Judge Paul Kelly was given evidence in relation to the outstanding matters against Ward.
Superintendent O’Brien outlined that on August 28, last year, Garda Carter was called to a domestic situation at 9 Fernhill.
On arrival he encountered Ward who was drunk, abusive, and violent and started to pull pictures off the wall and overturn furniture. In the process he broke a light fitting valued at €12.
The court also heard how a number of motoring offences including having no insurance were dealt with at a previous sitting of Letterkenny District Court in his absence.
The defendant shouted when Judge Paul Kelly dealt with a number of driving charges including driving without insurance and giving false details to Gardai.
Judge Kelly was told that Ward has a total of 23 previous convictions.
The defendant’s solicitor, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said while his client does have previous convictions, a lot of them are duplications for motoring offences. He said Ward also contest the allegations made against him regarding the motoring offences.
He said that his client has had a very difficult past and has battled alcoholism and depression.
“He sought the necessary counselling and he is now a proper father to his full family unit. His biggest demon to date has been alcohol,” Mr Gallagher explained.
Having heard the evidence Judge Paul Kelly imposed a total prison sentence of nine months, as well as a six year driving disqualification and a €200 fine.
The assault case against both men has been adjourned to 26 February for mention.
Superintendent Vincent O’Brien told the court that he was still awaiting confirmation of a venue from the Director of Public Prosecutions.