Lost bearings lead to liberty lost

A man in custody since August 12 for breaching bail conditions, collapsed dramatically in the dock and had to be carried by gardai from the courtroom in Mullingar on Monday (August 23 ) after being told he would have to stay behind bars for at least another week.

Gerry Fallon (50 ), originally of Ardmullen, Kiltoom but now living in Grange, Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, was attending a special sitting of the District Court in Mullingar this week to apply for bail, to which Gardai were objecting.

The court was told how Fallon was arrested in the centre of Athlone in the early hours of August 12, in breach of a bail condition curfew laid out at a previous special sitting of the court on August 6 when he signed a bond promising to stay out of Athlone between the hours of 8pm and 5am.

Fallon’s solicitor, Patricia Cronin, told the court how her client, “who is seeking treatment for alcoholism”, said he had been on the Roscommon side of Athlone when he was arrested and that he believed “the bail conditions stopped at the bridge”.

Inspector Fergus Treanor pointed out that Fallon was arrested on Church Street on the night in question, and has been served 19 bench warrants, and convicted three times for non-appearance in court in recent years. He went on to add that Fallon had scheduled District Court appearances in Athlone in September and October.

Fallon himself took the stand and told Judge David Anderson that he “didn’t intend to drink anymore. I’m trying to cop on to myself”.

Judge Anderson questioned Fallon about his knowledge of Athlone and suggested this might be where his 19 previous bench warrants came from.

“He didn’t know where the courthouse was,” mused Judge Anderson.

The judge then refused to grant bail to Fallon saying there were “too many warrants”, and remanded him in custody to re-appear at Athlone District Court on September 1. At this point Fallon slid to the floor and was carried from the court by a number of gardai. Sounds of his revival were soon heard from the corridor.

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