A man charged with assaulting a woman and causing her harm in a Letterkenny apartment has been remanded in custody.
Judge Éiteáin Cunningham refused bail for Damian Zygmunt when he was brought before Letterkenny District Court this week.
Zygmunt, a 30-year-old of Riverside View Apartments in Letterkenny, was charged with the offence on a date unknown between May 10-17, 2023 at Riverside View Apartments, Letterkenny.
Detective Sergeant Jonathan Sweeney told the court that a call was made to Letterkenny Garda Station on May 17 by a woman who reported that she was being held against her will in an apartment.
When Gardai arrived, the woman was unable to open the apartment and Gardai had to break down the door to gain entry.
Officers noticed injuries on the woman that were consistent with an assault. The woman reported to Gardai that she was held against her will and alleged that Zygmunt installed monitoring apps on her phone and installed a camera in the apartment to monitor her.
On May 19, Zygmunt was arrested at Riverside View, Lower Main Street, Letterkenny.
Detective Sergeant Sweeney told the court that the complainant hasn’t cooperated with the investigation since the initial call, but said Gardai were satisfied that they had enough evidence to build a case.
Solicitor for Zygmunt, Mr Rory O’Brien, asked why it took Gardai two days to arrest his client. Gardai said they were ‘actively’ looking for the accused until the time of his arrest.
“What’s going on?” Mr O’Brien asked. “Gardai are asking to remand my client, but there is no statement and there is an absolute denial from my client.”
Mr O’Brien said he was applying for bail on behalf of Zygmunt as there was ‘effectively no foundation to underpin the charge’.
“It would not be fair for the court to remand my client in custody pending the outcome of something that may not materialise. It is a very thin case.”
Sergeant Gerard Dalton told the court that a European Arrest Warrant had to be executed in order to extradite Zygmunt from Poland in 2019. Sergeant Dalton said there were previous instances where the accused had committed offences while on bail and he had a history of six bench warrants.
“All the State now has to do is to levy a charge against someone who is on bail – it is absolutely ludicrous,” Mr O’Brien said. “It’s like: ‘Here’s a charge, he’s on bail, so remand him. For the State to conjure up a charge like this is utterly ridiculous. It leaves every person at risk.”
Sergeant Dalton reiterated that Gardai had ‘major concerns’ with granting Zygmunt bail.
Detective Sergeant Sweeney told the court that Zygmunt has 25 previous convictions while on bail for offences including assault, assault causing harm, criminal damage, public order, escape from lawful custody, possession of drugs and obstructing a peace officer.
Previously, Zygmunt has served time in jail for assault, production of an article, assault causing harm, criminal damage and the possession of drugs for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying.
He has a total of 36 previous convictions, the court heard.
Mr O’Brien said his client had a ‘general entitlement to bail unless of exceptional circumstances outlined to the court’s satisfaction’.
“The substantive evidence underpinning this is weak and to allow him to be remanded in custody is grossly unfair,” he said. “If the court has any concerns, they are easily addressed by conditions.”
He said his client would comply with any directions imposed by the court.
Mr O’Brien said any deviation from conditions would see Gardai apply for bail to be revoked.
Sergeant Dalton said that Gardai had a ‘major predicament’ over Zygmunt’s previous commission of offences while on bail and said the defendant should remain in custody.
Judge Cunningham said Zygmunt could be assured that the presumption of innocence remains.
Judge Cunningham refused bail, saying she was satisfied regarding the nature of and degree of seriousness of the offence, of the sentence likely to be imposed and that the number of previous offences while on bail indicated persistent serious offending.
Judge Cunningham said the prosecution had established a likelihood of the accused attempting to evade justice, noting two previous convictions for non-appearance at court and a concern that he was a flight risk.
The accused will appear again via video link before Thursday’s sitting of Letterkenny District Court.