herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Businessman shot in foot after garda's bullet 'went through dog', court hears

Edward Stokes outside court. Photo: Collins Courts
Edward Stokes outside court. Photo: Collins Courts

A businessman was shot in the foot when a bullet fired by a garda allegedly "went through" a dog before it hit him, a court has been told.

Prosecutors maintain that Edward Stokes was shot after the garda sergeant opened fire on a dog that was "coming for him" during a confrontation on Mr Stokes's property in Co Longford.

Mr Stokes contends that there was no dog and the garda shot him "directly" after he was asked to leave the property because he had no warrant.

Mr Stokes and his wife Sharon, of Ferskill, Coolarthy, are accused of making false statements to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) about the shooting.

The offence is alleged to have happened at GSOC's offices at Abbey Street Upper on February 5.

Dublin District Court heard they would be denying the allegations and Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the case to a date in February.

The accused's barrister said the "genesis of the case" was that Mr Stokes was shot in the foot by a garda sergeant who was on his property without a warrant and it was "quite a complex case".

A State solicitor said there was a dog involved and the sergeant had been shooting at the dog and hit Mr Stokes's foot.

The sergeant had been in fear because the dog was coming for him, she said.

"My clients will deny the existence of the dog," the defence barrister said, adding that Mr Stokes would say that, from the entry and exit wounds, it would have to have been a direct shooting.

The State solicitor said it was not disputed that he was shot, but "the dog was the target".

Hospitalised

The defence barrister said Mr Stokes would say he had been carrying out his business replacing engines when a client arrived and the sergeant was in the back of the client's vehicle.

It was not known how the officer happened to be there but he was asked to leave because he had no warrant. He took out his gun and "Mr Stokes ended up being shot" and hospitalised, the barrister said.

The incident was recorded by Ms Stokes on her mobile phone.

The defence barrister asked for legal aid to be extended to cover five expert reports.

The judge granted this to cover two - a pathologist's report on Mr Stokes's injuries and a forensic scene examination.

The judge did not grant an order for a report by an animal expert after the accused's barrister said if there had been a dog there "it would have barked" on the video footage of the incident.

Judge Smyth said "one can't speculate on what a dog might do".

The accused's barrister said the incident had been "well covered in the media" and "the dogs in the street in Longford" knew about it.

The accused came to court with a presumption of innocence, he added.

The charge is one which is dealt with summarily at district court level only, the court heard.

The court was told the case would take several days to hear and the judge adjourned it for mention in February.

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