A LIMERICK father is to face trial for allegedly demanding ‘protection money’ from a foreman at the site of the Horizon Mall on the Dublin Road – days after demolition works began.
Terry Casey, 26, who has an address at Clonlong Halting Site, Southill faces a charge of demanding money with menaces relating to an incident on November 12 last.
The father-of-three has been granted conditional bail despite a strong objection by gardai who expressed concerns that witnesses may be intimidated.
Garda Stephen Aherne told Limerick District Court the defendant was arrested at his home shortly before 8am on Friday. He made no reply when charged.
Opposing bail he said it will be alleged a worker at the site of the former Parkway Valley development was approached by two men in a dark-coloured SUV at around 3.30pm as he was closing the security gate.
Garda Aherne said a conversation then took place and that it will be alleged the defendant informed the foreman that security would be needed for the site and that it would be in the interests of the company to pay it.
“Money was demanded for the protection of the site and machinery,” he said.
It is the prosecution case that when the foreman replied there was security in place, Mr Casey stated: “It doesn’t work like that around here” adding: “Who is going to protect your security? We need to be here.”
Garda Aherne told the court that Mr Casey gave the foreman his name and mobile phone number and that he returned to the site the following day.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client disputes the allegations and had given “his version of events” to gardai when questioned.
“He disputes the nature of the conversation – both people are saying different things,” he said, adding that his client remains innocent until proven guilty.
The solicitor said his client’s wife is heavily pregnant and that Mr Casey was willing to abide by any conditions imposed by the court.
Despite the garda objection, Judge Marian O’Leary granted bail subject to the defendant complying with strict conditions.
A independent cash surety of €2,500 must be lodged with the court before Mr Casey is released.
A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.