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Husband accused of setting a dog on garda as wife faces slash hook charge

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Edward Stokes, who is alleged to have commanded a dog to attack a garda sergeant, and his wife Sharon

Edward Stokes, who is alleged to have commanded a dog to attack a garda sergeant, and his wife Sharon

Edward Stokes, who is alleged to have commanded a dog to attack a garda sergeant, and his wife Sharon

A 29-year-old man has appeared in court charged with allegedly commanding his German Shepherd dog to "attack" a garda sergeant.

He also allegedly produced a slash hook during an incident in Co Longford, on December 3, 2018.

Edward Stokes, of Ferriskill, Granard, Co Longford, was remanded on bail of €1,000 at Longford District Court yesterday and is due to appear in court again on June 23.

He was charged with three offences arising from the incident in December 2018. It was previously reported that a dog was shot and Mr Stokes was shot in the foot during the incident, which occurred near his home.

Mask

A number of strict bail conditions were imposed on him, including that he surrender his passport.

Mr Stokes' wife, Sharon Stokes (32) - also of Ferriskill, Granard, Co Longford - was charged with producing a slash hook during the same dispute.

She wore a face mask as she stood beside her husband during the brief hearing.

Social distancing guidelines were enforced at the court sitting due to the coronavirus pandemic. She was also granted bail with strict conditions by Judge Seamus Hughes.

Sergeant Paul Carney, of Granard Garda Station, gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution of the couple before yesterday's brief court sitting.

While mother-of-four Ms Stokes is facing a single charge of producing an article in a dispute, namely a slash hook, her husband is facing three charges.

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Sharon Stokes

Sharon Stokes

Sharon Stokes

He is charged with the same offence as his wife, under Section 11 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990.

Mr Stokes is also charged with commanding "a German Shepherd-type dog, that you were in control of, to attack Sergeant Tom Quinn, allowing the German Shepherd dog to grab hold of Sgt Tom Quinn's necktie by its teeth.

"And that you failed to call off the dog, despite the warnings of Sgt Tom Quinn, which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another."

This is an offence under Section 13 of the non-fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

Furthermore, Mr Stokes was charged with criminal damage of the ignition key of a 09-reg Ford Focus Transit van belonging to a John Casey.

Fair

Sgt Carney asked the court for a number of strict conditions to be attached to Mr Stokes's bail.

"It is An Garda Siochana's view that conditions are necessary because of the seriousness of the charge," he told the court.

Mr Stokes appealed directly to the judge to be "a fair man" and to not attach strict bail conditions.

However, Judge Hughes agreed to the garda request and set a number of conditions on bail, including signing on daily and a curfew.

Judge Hughes said the case was of a "serious" nature, given that a slash hook was allegedly produced and that it is alleged a dog was commanded to attack a garda sergeant.

The court heard that the Director of Public Prosecution directed the couple to be charged with trial on indictment. The couple are expected to be served with the book of evidence on June 23 when they appear next, the court heard.