Man granted bail despite fears of witness tampering

A man who broke a car window and assaulted his neighbour was granted bail yesterday despite Garda fears that he would interfere with “terrified” witnesses and that he would fail to turn up to court.

John Barrett (26 ) with an address at 143 Ballinfoyle Park, Galway, was brought before Galway District Court yesterday charged with criminal damage and assault.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that there would be a strong objection to a bail application on the grounds that witnesses would be interfered with and that there were six bench warrants issued in the past. It is alleged that the defendant called to 167 Ballinfoyle Park at 1.30am and broke the window of a car with a spare wheel that he had picked up. Barrett then assaulted a woman. The inspector added that the residents “are in fear of him”.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran then explained that the defendant had been before court on Saturday January 17 last and had been remanded in custody without the presence of a solicitor.

According to Garda evidence the defendant was being transported to Strokestown District Court and had said that he would “get to the witnesses” regardless of whether he was in jail or not. Ms Corcoran said that the garda had misunderstood Barrett as he had been referring to an injury he had received to the face.

The first witness to be called by the prosecution was Michael Mongan who told the court that he was “afraid” that Barrett would come back to his house. He added that his wife, who had been kicked in the chest, was “terrified”. Mrs Margaret Mongan confirmed that she was in fear for her life. When Ms Corcoran questioned her regarding Barrett’s injuries Mrs Mongan replied that it had been inflicted by her nails in self defence. She also added that Barrett had threatened to shoot her.

Ms Corcoran then told Judge William Hamill that her client was willing to stay away from the area and to live in Meadowbank Park, Letterkenny, Donegal. She added that Barrett had made no threats to shoot Mrs Mongan and that there had been no prior incident between the two parties.

Judge Hamill remanded the defendant in custody with consent to bail on his own bond of €500 and an independent surety of €2,000 to appear again on January 28. The conditions of bail include: to reside in Meadowbank Park, Letterkenny, Donegal; sign on daily at Letterkenny Garda Station between 9am and 9pm; stay out of Galway except for court appearances; not to enter the Headford Road area; and to have no contact with the Mongan family.


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