Five in court on charges linked to alleged ‘feud’
Four men and a teenage boy charged in connection with alleged violent scenes at a filling station on the Buncrana Road earlier this week have been granted bail.
An investigating officer told Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday that the alleged violence arose out of a ‘feud’ between two parties.
The court heard that it was linked to a dispute between a group from Longford and a group from Derry.
A number of defendants are originally from Longford but currently have addresses in Derry.
Kevin Stokes (28) of Ballyarnett Park, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, affray, possession of weapons including a saw blade, baton, jemmy bar, an axe and a garden fork.
He is further accused of possessing a crossbow with intent to commit an indictable offence.
His brother, 23-year-old Dylan Stokes, of Racecourse Road, is charged with dangerous driving, no driving licence and no insurance.
A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named due to his age, is accused of affray and possession of offensive weapons.
The other defendants are 19-year-old Charles McDonagh, with an address of Donegal Road, Ballybofey, who is charged with dangerous driving and possessing offensive weapons, and 25-year-old Martin Mongan, of Ballyarnett Camp, who is accused of possessing a stanley knife.
The court was told that an alleged incident on August 17 was captured on CCTV and videos have been shared widely on social media.
The officer told the court the CCTV showed men armed with weapons, including a crossbow and a pitchfork, vehicles being attacked and
a collision in which a female member of the public sustained a fractured sternum.
She said some of those allegedly involved also went into a shop while in possession of weapons.
It is alleged that a sixth person arrested by police was knocked down by a car fleeing the scene.
He remains in hospital after undergoing surgery for a fractured skull.
The court heard further allegations that Kevin Stokes hit this man several times with a crossbow while he was lying on the ground.
A defence barrister, acting for Kevin Stokes, said that the Longford natives had been living in Derry for the last 20 months without any incident.
However, it was claimed that on Tuesday they were ‘fleeing’ from the city because they became aware of a threat from a party based in Derry.
The barrister claimed his client, his brother Dylan and others were doing this when they were ‘ambushed’ by members of this other group.
He said that his client had made police aware of the alleged threats and had asked for a police escort when they were leaving the city.
The investigating officer confirmed Kevin Stokes had made this case during interview and while police did not agree to provide an escort, they had agreed the route they would take.
However, the officer claimed the group did not take this route, but went another way.
The officer confirmed that two caravans left behind at Ballyarnett Camp by the Longford group were destroyed by arson on Wednesday.
Opposing bail for all five defendants, the investigating officer claimed it was ‘clear that this matter between two factions is not resolved.’
She said that tensions are still high and claimed there is a strong likelihood of retribution being sought.
The officer added there are genuine concerns of further offences and there is a potential that other members of the public could be inadvertently caught up in them, as they allegedly were earlier this week.
The officer said police believe the alleged attack ‘was planned and anticipated’ given some of the weapons involved.
She told the court police also have concerns that the defendants may interfere with witnesses and not turn up for trial.
Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare released all five defendants on bail, subject to conditions, including a £1,000 cash surety and a prohibition on having any contact with the alleged injured parties.
The defendants will appear in court again on September 16.