Bail denied for man who escaped from Donegal Garda station

September 14, 2020

A MAN who escaped from custody at a Donegal Garda Station and stole a mobile phone from a Detective has been refused bail. 

John Harkin appeared at Letterkenny District Court by video link from Castlerea Prison.

Harkin, with an address at Hawkin Street, Derry, faces a number of charges for alleged offences between 2009 and 2014.

Harkin is charged with escaping from lawful custody at Burnfoot Garda Station in July 2009. On the same date, it is alleged that Harkin stole a mobile phone from a Detective Garda at Burnfoot Garda Station.

Harkin faces a number of theft charges, including the theft of a car.

It is further alleged that Harkin reversed into the front of the car of an off-duty member of An Garda Síochána, causing a risk of death or serious harm.

Solicitor for Harkin, Mr Frank Dorrian, sought bail and contested that others had been granted bail ‘on vastly more serious charges’.

€3,000 was made available by way of an offered bail bond. Mr Dorrian said his client was ‘indebted to the people who provided the money and has assured them that he won’t let them down’.

“He acknowledges that this is a problem he created himself,” Mr Dorrian said.

“They are essentially charges against property. They are not the most serious of charges and they date from 2009 to 2014.

“Factors that were present in his life are no longer present. He advises that he has now managed to obtain tranquillity where he behaves properly, he is sober and functional. He has got his act together regarding his behaviour.”

Sergeant Jim Collins objected to bail due to the seriousness of the charges and the issue of previous bench warrants for Harkin, including one from the Circuit Court in 2010.

“The vintage of the charges is not at the foot of the State,” Sergeant Collins told the court. “It is at his foot for trying to avoid being brought before the court. We object in the strongest possible way.”

The DPP has consented to Harkin being forwarded for trial at the next sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court, which begins on October 27.

A book of evidence has been served.

Judge Paul Kelly said he felt that Harkin was a flight risk, based on the evidence of previous warrants and the fact that he resides outside the jurisdiction.