Stephen Dowling from Carlow who appeared at Letterkenny District Court today in connection with a shooting incident in Glenties last Saturday
A 22-year-old deer hunter accused of discharging a firearm in Glenties in the early hours of Saturday morning was granted bail when he appeared at Letterkenny District Court today, (Monday).
Stephen Dowling of 47 Cois Abhainn, Burren Road, Carlow was charged with discharging a firearm being reckless as to whether any person was injured or not at Mill Road, Drumnasillagh and Main Street, Gortnamucklagh, Glenties.
The hearing, which lasted approximately 15 minutes, did not outline any details of the alleged incidents where both a garda and a civilian car were struck.
Gardaí objected to the bail but were overruled by Judge Paul Kelly.
At today's hearing Detective Garda Enda Jennings from Milford Garda Station gave evidence of charging the accused at Ballyshannon Garda Station. Dowling made no reply to either charge, he said.
He added they were objecting to any application for bail because of the seriousness of the charges.
Files were being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and further charges may be directed, he said.
He pointed out they had strong evidence, including independent eye witnesses and garda witnesses, and the likelihood these charges would proceed on indictment. He said each charge carried a sentence of five years imprisonment.
He said they were concerned that there was a possibility of interference with witnesses.
The accused’s solicitor, Mr Anderson pointed out his client was a 22-year-old welder by occupation.
He said he had no previous convictions and because his client lived in Carlow this removed any possibility of him interfering with witnesses providing he didn’t come back up to Donegal.
Mr Anderson said the accused is the father of one child and the sole earner in the family.
When cross-examined by Judge Kelly, Detective Garda Jennings said there was one civilian witness to the incident.
A shot was fired into a vehicle in which he was in. That witness had been quite helpful to them over the past number of days, he said.
He also said there were a few other independent witnesses that observed the activity on the night.
Judge Kelly asked what gave rise to the garda’s concerns in relation to bail.
He was told the concerns related to the fact the accused knew who the witnesses are and the gravity of the offence.
There was also a fear he may come back but the court was told the accused would not have been known to witnesses before the night in question.
The garda added the accused was “highly intoxicated” when he was apprehended.
Mr Anderson said his client was willing to abide by whatever bail conditions the court saw fit to impose and would give an undertaking not to interfere with witnesses.
He added his parents were also in court and were willing to put up €2,000 cash bail and would also go surety for him.
“Because of the rushed nature of coming to court today they have no proof of any funds or bank accounts,” he said.
Judge Kelly asked why the accused was in Donegal.
Mr Anderson explained he was in the county with his uncle and nephew for a deer hunting weekend. They had got permission from a landowner to do this, he said.
Judge Kelly was told quite a lot of the accused’s family members also hunted and licensed firearms were available to him but not at his own address in Carlow.
“He would have access to other people who had access to them,” said Detective Garda Jennings.
Mr Anderson pointed out that the accused’s uncle had guns under lock in a safe and he lived outside Carlow.
The judge heard as there was a lot of evidence gathered and more to be gathered it could be several months before the DPP provided a direction for the case.
Despite objections from Detective Garda Jennings, Judge Kelly said he would grant bail but with several conditions attached.
These included bail of €2,000 with an independent surety of €2,000; that he reside at the address shown on the charge sheet and notify the gardaí if there was any change.
The Judge also ruled that the accused is not to have any direct or indirect contact with any of the witnesses; he must sign on at Carlow Garda Station every Friday between 9am and 9pm.
The accused must not enter Donegal other than for court appearances or consultations in the presence of legal advisors.
He must also surrender his passport and observe a curfew every night between 10pm and 7am and supply a telephone number at which he can be contacted 24-7.
The case was adjourned to Letterkenny District Court on April 27 to await the DPP’s direction.
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