Judge says Stokes assault case too serious for district court

Thursday 29 May 2014 19.05
Republic of Ireland and Celtic striker Anthony Stokes is accused of headbutting a man in Dublin
Republic of Ireland and Celtic striker Anthony Stokes is accused of headbutting a man in Dublin

A court has been told that Republic of Ireland and Celtic striker Anthony Stokes headbutted and injured a man during a row about a spilled drink in a Dublin nightclub.

The football star had been originally charged in March and made his second appearance at Dublin District Court this morning, where Judge Conal Gibbons asked to hear an outline of the prosecution's evidence.

Mr Stokes, 25, who is from Dublin, is accused of assault causing harm to a man named Anthony Bradley, at Buck Whaley's on Leeson Street, on 8 June last year.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had directed "summary disposal", meaning the district court would be a suitable trial venue, however Judge Gibbons did not agree.

After he heard a summary of the allegations and read medical reports on the complainant's injuries, he held that the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level which, on conviction, can impose a maximum sentence of 12 months for the alleged offence.

This means Stokes could now be facing trial before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Judge Gibbons said that as a result of his decision further directions from the DPP may be required.

The footballer was accompanied to the preliminary hearing by his father John Stokes, who sat in the public gallery.

The footballer did not address the court and sat silently as an outline of the prosecution's evidence was given.

The striker has not yet entered a plea to the charge and was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in July after the judge ruled that it would not be appropriate for the case to be heard in the district court.

At the outset of the proceedings defence solicitor Michael Staines said the DPP has directed "summary disposal" and it was now up to the presiding judge to consider whether or not he would accept jurisdiction.

In evidence, Det Garda Des Rogers told Judge Gibbons it would be alleged that on 8 June 2013, at Buck Whaley's nightclub, "another unknown individual spilled a drink on the injured party and it is alleged Mr Stokes intervened and headbutted the injured party".

Two medical reports were then handed into court for the judge to inspect.

Refusing jurisdiction Judge Gibbons then said: "I have to say to you that based on these medical reports I do not think it is a minor offence."

The details of the man's injuries were not read out in court but the judge said that if they were such as described in the reports, "to my mind this is not a suitable case for the district court".

"This is a court of summary jurisdiction, I'm going to refuse jurisdiction, I do not think it is an appropriate case," Judge Gibbons added.

Mr Stokes, who lives at Bellhaven Terrace, Glasgow, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again on 17 July, "for DPP directions".

Mr Staines asked for permission to be let apply to the court for his client to be excused from attending the proceedings on the next date in light of his occupation.

Judge Gibbons allowed it but specified that seven days' notice must be given.

Mr Stokes had originally met investigating gardaí by appointment in Dublin on 6 March last when the charge was put to him after which he "made no reply to caution".