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18/09/2021

Donegal man banned from entering County Derry as part of his bail conditions after breaching non molestation order

Derry man jailed for assault on mother and father

Derry courthouse.

A Donegal man has been banned from entering County Derry as part of his bail conditions after he appeared at Derry Magistrate's on a charge of contravening a non molestation order.

Michael Stapleton (27) of Old School House in Fahan appeared charged with contravening the order on September 8 and harassing and pestering his ex-partner on the same date.

The court heard that the woman and her son were approached by the defendant in breach of the order.

The woman believed the defendant had been trying to find her and had called to her mother's house to find out where she was living.

He was said to have tried to engage her in conversation but the woman made clear she didn't want to talk to him.

He then asked to meet her for a cup of coffee before going away on his bike.

A police officer told the court the woman was 'distressed and fearful' after the incident.

Police tried to locate the defendant but couldn't until September 12 while attending an incident they had occasion to speak to him and he was arrested.

He told police it was 'a chance encounter' with the woman and he denied breaching the order.

Opposing bail the officer said Stapleton had seven previous convictions and five of them involved the same female.

He said police had 'no confidence' he would abide by any order.

Defence counsel Michael Donaghy said it was not 'a violent encounter' and there were no threats or violence.

He said his client had no intention of meeting his former partner and just wanted to hug his son.

Describing Stapleton as 'a nuisance and a pest' the barrister said he was not violent.

District Judge Barney McElholm said he did not believe this was a chance encounter and said he had been looking for the woman.

He granted Stapleton bail with a cash surety of £1,000 and ordered him not to enter County Derry or have any contact with the alleged victim in the case.

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