*The accused had been at large since June 2022. 

AN anti-vaccine activist, Antonio Mureddu is to face trial at the circuit court where he is charged with the assault of a Clare Garda after being ‘at large’ for the last 21 months concerning the case.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett remanded Italian national, Mr Mureddu in custody after being told that a Book of Evidence in the case would be ready in two weeks.

Mr Mureddu (47) formerly of Headford Arms Hotel, Headford, Co Galway has been ‘at large’ since June 2022 when a bench warrant was issued from Ennis District Court for his arrest after he failed to show up in court concerning the alleged assault on Garda James Hanly three years ago.

Mr Mureddu did not show up in court in June 2022 after a medical report was provided to court on behalf of Mr Mureddu which said that Mr Mureddu has “Covid symptoms – flu like”.

Mr Mureddu was arrested by Gardaí in Co Donegal prior to the sitting and Mr Mureddu claimed in court that he was “kidnapped” by Gardaí on Tuesday.

Mr Mureddu told Judge Gabbett “I am not Mr Mureddu” but instead was a trustee with two deeds of trust and said that Mr Mureddu is a legal entity.

Judge Gabbett said, “That is not how it works unfortunately. You are a person”.

Mr Mureddu replied “I am not judge.” Judge Gabbett said, “So who are then? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Judge Gabbett said, “You are a person and you are here in front of me”.

Judge Gabbett asked Mr Mureddu to slow down “because I am finding it hard to understand”.

Mr Mureddu said that the charges against him were struck out and Judge Gabbett said that the charges remain live on the system.

Mr Mureddu said, “I come here with clean hands seeking remedy and relief”. Mr Mureddu said that he doesn’t accept the charges.

Asked if he was pleading guilty or not guilty, Mr Mureddu said, “I plead equity”.

In relation to the question of legal aid, Judge Gabbett asked the accused if he was working and Mr Mureddu replied, “I am not a working man”.

Mr Mureddu told Judge Gabbett that he was not seeking legal aid and didn’t require any lawyer to represent him.

Mr Mureddu first appeared before Letterkenny District Court on Tuesday last concerning the outstanding bench warrant for his arrest where Sgt Jim Collins said that the court has not known of Mr Mureddu’s whereabouts for the past two years.

In the case, Mr Mureddu is accused of assaulting Garda James Hanley with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detention of himself for an alleged offence, dangerous driving at Knockanean outside Ennis on August 10th 2021 last contrary to Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act, (Public Order Act) 1994.

Mr Mureddu is also accused of dangerous driving on the M18 motorway at Caheraphuca, Crusheen and on the same motorway at Ballymacahill, Ennis on August 10th 2021.

Judge Gabbett remanded Mr Mureddu in custody to appear via video link from prison in court on Wednesday.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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