Bail for Derry pair accused of extortion bid in Inishowen

Two Derry men, charged with the extortion of 15,000 euro with menace in Donegal, have been remanded on bail at Buncrana District Court.

Kevin Harkin, with an address at Rossnagalligh and Seamus Mahon of 92 Altcar Park, are each charged with the extortion of 15,000 euro from a duo, with menace, at Ture, Muff on Friday, April 22nd, 2016.

At Buncrana District Court on Tuesday, the court was told they had also been charged that day with a second alleged offence, that on 20th April, 2016 at Swan Park, Buncrana they made an unwarranted demand to extort money to the value of 4,000 euro.

Buncrana Garda Inspector David Murphy objected to bail, stating concerns about them not turning up in court for trial and possible interference with witnesses.

Both men gave evidence stating they would not do so and gave addresses in the jurisdiction at which they would reside. Harkin gave an address at Lisfannon and McMahon gave an address at Newtowncunninhgham.

Judge Paul Kelly did grant bail to both men, imposing a number of strict conditions. These included daily sign on at Buncrana Garda Station, that they be remanded on their own bond of 2,500 euro, of which 1,000 euro cash was to be lodged and an independent surety of 10,000 with 5,000 euro cash to be lodged. They were also to reside at the addresses given and notify any change of address to the prosecuting Garda, be of good behaviour, observe a curfew between 11pm and 8am, have no contact with witnesses, supply a mobile phone number to Gardai and surrender their passports.

Harkin was granted permission to stay in a house owned by a woman who described herself as a friend of his partner’s family. She said she was aware of the charges Harkin faced and was happy to let him stay at the house. Inspector Murphy asked if she was making the house available “of her own free will” to which she replied she was. Inspector Murphy told Judge Kelly he had “concerns” to Harkin being granted bail, adding that “rarely would such a serious charge come before the court.” Harkin’s solicitor Donagh Cleary said bail was a “right” and he had put forward the address, with the homeowner “well appraised” of the situation. Harkin told Judge Kelly he “wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise the case.”

Mahon was granted permission to stay with a family member in Newtowncunningham. Judge Kelly asked Inspector Murphy if there was “any provision” for electronic tagging in the area and the inspector said he would make enquiries.

Judge Kelly granted bail to both men with the same conditions attached

He also granted liberty to Gardai bring the matter back to court if there was a breach of bail conditions.