TWO young Buncrana men
appeared in court yesterday charged with possession
of petrol bombs with intent to cause criminal
damage. A charge against a minor, who cannot be
identified because of his age, was struck out.
The court heard that Darren Grant, 21 Pairc Mór,
Buncrana, was arrested on August 26 last. He made no
reply when charged at Buncrana Garda Station, the
court was told. Defence solicitor Paudge Dorrian
said his client had "suffered immensely" due to
allegations made in the press that suggested his
client was guilty, by implication, of arson.
"This man has no hope of getting a fair trial if
this goes before a judge and jury," said Mr Dorrian.
He said there had been "irresponsible publication by
the press" and that "people's minds in the area have
been polluted". Mr Dorrian also claimed there was
"selective prosecution going on".
Garda Inspector David Murphy, prosecuting, said: "I
reject this." Seeking an adjournment of several
months, Inspector Murphy told Judge Paul Kelly there
was a significant Garda investigation underway into
the case. He said certain matters were still under
investigation that, for operational reasons, he
could not divulge.
He asked the judge to impose a night time curfew on
Mr Grant. Mr Dorrian said his client was an
"innocent party" and that such restrictions would
indicate he had done something wrong. Judge Kelly
declined to impose a curfew and remanded the accused
on continuing bail. However, the judge told
Inspector Murphy he was free to return to court if
any issues of concern arose.
The court further heard from a local probation
officer that 21-year old Darren Grant had failed to
complete community service in relation to a
previous, unrelated case. Judge Kelly said the
community service order was in lieu of a prison
sentence and it was now his inclination that the
defendant should serve the prison sentence.
Judge Kelly said: "I'm not at all impressed with Mr
Grant's attitude. He has a history of non-compliance
and has come in to court today with a casual and
disrespectful attitude to the process."
Mr Grant told the court that one of the reasons he
failed to complete some of his hours was that he was
on a week's holiday in June.
Mr Dorrian told the court his client would undertake
to complete 76 hours of community service between
now and December.
Meanwhile, Garda James Canning told the court he
charged 18-year old Damian Carlin, Keelogs, Linsfort,
on September 6, last, and that he had made no reply
to the charge.
Defence solicitor, Ciaran Barron asked for
statements and applied for and was granted legal aid
on behalf of his client.
A minor, accompanied by his mother, also appeared at
Buncrana District Court charged with similar
offences. Defence solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn
asked prosecuting Gardai whether his client had been
offered a chance to undertake the Garda Diversion
Programme (GDP) in lieu of being charged. He also
asked whether a full written submission was made to
the GDP director and whether a written response was
returned by the GDP prior to his client being
He said his genuinely felt that his client, who had
no previous convictions, would have been deemed a
suitable candidate for inclusion in the juvenile
programme. Mr MacLochlainn further told the court
that striking out the charge against his client at
this juncture would not preclude Gardai from
re-entering charges at a future date.
Inspector David Murphy told the court that the
director of the GDP had, in accordance with the
legislation, been contacted prior to the youth being
Following lengthy legal argument on the Children's
Act as it refers to how juveniles are prosecuted,
Judge Kelly said he would strike out the charge. The
cases relating to Mr Grant and Mr Carlin were
adjourned until next week but both defendants were
excused from attending the next hearing.