Defendant ordered to pay compensation to Leitrim hotel or face custodial sentence

Leitrim Observer reporter

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A Carrick-on-Shannon man who appeared before last week’s sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court accused of throwing a chair over the bar counter at Lough Rynn Castle and causing damage in excess of over €5,000 was told by Judge Kevin P Kilrane that he must raise the full amount of compensation within a month or face a six month prison sentence.
Giving summary evidence Insp Donal Sweeney told the Court a group of 60 guests arrived at Lough Rynn on February 23, 2017 and were said to be drinking heavily. At about 9.30pm the hotel manager decided to close the bar as he deemed matters were getting out of hand and the music was turned off.
John Stokes, 1 Kilboderry, Summerhill, Carrick-on-Shannon was said to have lifted a banqueting chair over his head and then threw it over the bar breaking glasses and the till machine. The Court heard the offence was captured by CCTV footage.
Mr Stokes appeared before Court to face charges of criminal damage, threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour and intoxication in a public place.
The Court heard the defendant had a lot of drink taken and pointed out that he had not been one of the organisers of the function.
It was also pointed out that the group had, earlier that day, been asked to leave Cryan’s Hotel as they were expecting a funeral party and the group agreed to leave as they thought it would be disrespectful to stay.
It was also stated in Court that Mr Stokes felt the behaviour of staff at Lough Rynn Castle was “heavy handed” and said there was “possible discrimination,” against Mr Stokes who was described as a respected member of the Travelling community.
Solicitor, Pauline Brady, said Mr Stokes “Shouldn’t have done that and he apologises. He has come to Court with €2,000 and is seeking time to pay the remainder.”
It was noted that Mr Stokes, who is 48-years-old, accepted responsibility at the earliest stage and “Is doing his best to make reparation to Lough Rynn to whom he apologises.”
Ms Brady added, “He felt if given time he could have calmed matters. The arrival of more Gardai fuelled matters.”
Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane said, “A party of 60 people descended on Lough Rynn and proceeded to drink.
“The management dealt with them properly until they became concerned and asked them to leave.
“Mr Stokes, who put himself forward as a moral leader, decided to smash all before him. He had the cheek to instruct (his solicitor) that he was being intimidated. Certain people in this country are impossible to deal with. He was served and still claims discrimination.”
Judge Kilrane adjourned matters until February 20 warning Mr Stokes that the full amount of compensation must be paid or he will face a six month prison sentence.