Limerick Circuit Court
A MAN who is charged in connection with a violent incident in Askeaton more than a year ago has been granted permission to return to the village despite a strong garda objection.
Michael Harty, aged 26, of Lismakeera, Askeaton is charged with assaulting a woman at Churchview, Askeaton on November 1, 2015.
The defendant, who is also accused of possession of a knife on the same date, was previously ordered to stay away from Askeaton as a condition of his bail.
It is alleged the woman sustained a serious leg injury in the incident which has been linked to a feud between a number of different parties.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed trial on indictment but a trial date has not yet been fixed.
Making an application to vary Mr Harty’s bail conditions, Brian McInerney BL, said his client’s trial is unlikely to be heard before October and that the presumption of innocence still applies.
“We don’t operate a system of preventative detention in our jurisdiction,” he said.
Instructed by solicitor Michael O’Donnell, Mr McInerney told Limerick Circuit Court the father-of-three has been living in Shannon for nearly a year and that his two school-going children are suffering as they continue to live with their mother in Askeaton.
“The only time he can see his children is after school,” he said suggesting the State was forcing his client to travel long distances to meet his children “on the side of the road or in a pub” before bedtime.
Mr McInerney said the presumption of innocence still applies and he noted that a co-accused has not been excluded from Askeaton.
Detective Garda Joseph O’Sullivan opposed the application saying public order incidents in Askeaton have dropped dramatically since Mr Harty and a number of other individuals were excluded from village.
“There has been no hassle since,” he said adding it was Mr Harty who had chosen to live in Shannon rather than somewhere like Newcastle West or Rathkeale where he has relatives.
“He could live anywhere in County Limerick other than Askeaton. The fact that he has chosen to live in Shannon is a matter for him,” said Michael Collins BL, prosecuting.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said the fact that Mr Harty’s co-accused has not been excluded from Askeaton was something he had to balance along with the concerns of gardai.
However, he said in the circumstances he was willing to grant the application to vary the bail conditions to allow Mr Harty to return to Askeaton four days a week.
From next week the defendant can stay at his home address in the village from 10am each Monday until 6pm each Thursday.
A nightly curfew remains in place and Mr Harty must sign-on at a local garda station daily.
He was ordered not to have any contact with the alleged injured party pending the conclusion of the proceedings.
While, the matter has been listed in the callover (of criminal cases) next month it is unlikely to be given a trial date until later in the year given the number of cases currently before the court.