Derry men charged with attempted extortion query ‘human rights’

Two Derry men charged with the attempted extortion of 15,000 euro have been remanded in custody.

Kevin Harkin, Rosnagalliagh and Seamus Mahon, Altcar Park, Galliagh, were arrested at Ture, Muff in Co. Donegal last Friday, 22nd April.

They appeared at a special sitting of Sligo District Court on Saturday and were remanded in custody to appear at Buncrana District Court on Tuesday when their applications for bail were refused and they were remanded in custody to appear at Letterkenny District Court on Tuesday, May 3rd.

At Tuesday’s court, the men claimed they had not showered or had a change of clothes since the day of their arrest and suggested their “human rights” had been ignored.

The court was told Mahon’s partner’s had brought a change of clothes to the court but was informed they could not be handed over. Superintendent Eugene McGovern stated the men were not permitted to take any additional property back with them to prison. He said the claims they had not showered or changed clothes since Friday was a “matter for the prison service.”

Mahon’s solicitor, Pat McMyler asked Judge Paul Kelly to direct that 50 euro could be given to the men by their partner’s to buy “a few cigarettes” and items in prison. Judge Kelly responded that he could not do so as it was not a matter for the district court.

This led to one or both of the men to call out: “What about human rights?” Shouting and swearing could be heard as they were led from the court in handcuffs.

Earlier, the court had been told that the men had addresses in Carndonagh and Malin in which to reside, should bail be granted.

Making a bail application, Harkin’s solicitor, Donncha Cleary, said his client was in a long-term relationship with a woman and the room was available at her brother’s house in Carndonagh. He said this could be coupled with Harkin regularly signing on at a Garda station.

Supt McGovern objected to bail, stating Gardai were awaiting directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions in the matter. He said he was objecting due to the seriousness of the charge, the fact Harkin lived outside the jurisdiction and the “significant concerns” over the imtimidation of witnesses.

The court was told there was a property in Malin, owned by Mahon’s family, in which he could stay. Mr McMyler said he would be “anxious” to make a bail application but evidence would have to be heard in relation Mahon’s stay in Malin and this was not yet in place. He added that Mahon might be in a position to provide a cash surety but this would “take a few days.” Mr McMyler asked that Mahon be remanded in custody until these matters could be dealt with.

Mr Cleary made a similar request. Judge Kelly remanded both men in custody to appear at Letterkenny District Court on May 3rd.