Cllr John Loftus is to contest the public order charges
A SITTING Limerick councillor has confirmed he is to contest public order charges relating to an incident which happened earlier this year.
Cllr John Loftus, aged 62, who has an address at St John’s Avenue, Mulgrave Street in the city is accused of being intoxicated in a public place; using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place and with failure to comply with the direction of gardai, under the provisions of Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act.
Previously, Limerick District Court was told the independent councillor was arrested on Saturday, May 26 in relation to an incident which occurred at Lord Edward Street on the same date.
The matter first came before the court in June and last month gardai were ordered to disclose any outstanding materials to Cllr Loftus and his lawyers so the case could be progressed and a plea entered.
During a procedural hearing at Limerick District Court, Judge Marian O’Leary was told that all documents and materials relating to the case have now been disclosed by the State.
Solicitor Sabina Hegerty confirmed this and said her client will be contesting the charges.
“I am seeking a hearing date in the matter,” she said which means Cllr Loftus is to enter a not guilty plea.
Ms Hegerty told Judge O’Leary there will be CCTV evidence in the case and that she expects the hearing could last up to two hours.
While Judge O’Leary expressed her surprise that the case will last so long given the nature of the charges, she adjourned the matter to January for hearing before a special court.
Cllr Loftus, a former Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor, sat in the public gallery of Courtroom 6 throughout the morning before his case was called.
Following a brief discussion with Ms Hegerty, he left the courtroom without making any comment after the case was dealt with.
If convicted of the charges before the court, the Limerick city west councillor faces a maximum fine of €569 and/or a six month prison sentence.