A case against a young Letterkenny man charged with arson of an apartment block has been halted after a representation by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sean Strain of Ros Suighle, Oldtown, had faced one charge of arson at Westside Apartments at Lower Main Street on November 25th, 2014.

21 year old Mr. Strain had always denied the charges.

The trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court heard evidence from a resident at the flats complex.

Martin Toye told the court how he and his aunt, Kathleen Gibbons, had been in his top-floor apartment in the afternoon of November 25th when the fire broke out.

Ms Gibbons thought Martin was smoking but he said he was not and went to check where the smell of smoke was coming from.

When he went into the hallway of the apartment complex he was overcome with thick smoke.

He went back into the apartment and he said he began to cry because he did not think there was a way out.

However, firemen had managed to reach Martin and his aunt with a crane and rescued them from the complex.

They were the only people in the ten apartment complex at the time.

George Wilkin of Westside Management Ltd, the owners of the complex said a large amount of smoke damage had been caused to the complex, as well as damage to wiring and intercoms.

The total amount of damage was €126,000 and there had been insurance but no settlement had yet been reached.

After lengthy legal argument, prosecuting barrister Ms. Patricia McLaughlin said she had been given directions by the DPP to enter a Nolle prosequi which means they were “unwilling to pursue.”

This is a phrase used criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor’s decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges either before trial or before a verdict is rendered.



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