Gardai given fortnight for case directions as man in custody since July

December 7, 2022

Gardai have been given a fortnight to obtain directions in a case after a court heard a man has been in custody awaiting his case since July.

Edward Crerand faces charges relating to an incident described as ‘a violent and unprovoked’ assault in Castlefin on July 29, 2022.

At Letterkenny District Court this week, his solicitor, Mr Rory O’Brien applied for the case to be struck out after Sergeant Jim Collins informed the court that it would take a further two weeks for a book of evidence to be ready.

“This has been an unbelievably protracted case,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien said that a High Court judge had directed in October that, if a book wasn’t served, that a bail application for Crerand could be revisited.

“If the court is not minded to strike it out, perhaps the court could consider giving bail,” Mr O’Brien said.

Crerand, a 40-year-old of Sraih Aoibhinn, Stranorlar, was arrested following an incident in Castlefin in July and has been in custody at Castlerea Prison since.

Crerand is charged with assault causing harm, taking a vehicle without permission and the theft of a car key.

Detective Garda John O’Sullivan told a previous sitting of the court that an alleged victim had been taken to hospital after being attacked. The man was treated for facial injuries.

Gardai previously objected to bail due to the seriousness of the charge.

Detective Garda O’Sullivan said Crerand had 28 previous convictions in the Republic of Ireland, 16 of which were ‘in the ‘serious’ category and 12 of which were committed while the accused was on bail.

Sergeant Collins said a further charge was added recently and the changeover to a new State Solicitor in Donegal had ‘somewhat delayed’ progress.

Mr O’Brien said the impending change of State Solicitor ‘isn’t a valid excuse’.

“We are now four, approaching five months on charges that are fairly straightforward,” Mr O’Brien said, asking the court to consider bail for Crerand.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said she was remanding Crerand in custody until December 19 for the service of a book of evidence.

The adjournment was marked peremptory against the State, meaning directions must be available on the next date.