The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the case against a 32-year old chef accused of throwing a cup of urine into the face of a Garda at Ennis Garda Station be heard in the district court.
Joel Lonia of no fixed abode has remained in prison on remand since December 12th in connection with the assault of two Gardai while being detained at Ennis Garda Station in the early hours of December 12th.
At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Sgt Aiden Lonergan told Judge Alec Gabbett that the DPP has directed that the case he heard in the district court.
Sgt Lonergan said that arising from the DPP directions, Gardai were now in a position to furnish disclosure of documents in the case to solicitor, Shiofra Hassett for the accused.
Mr Lonia was appearing in court from prison via video-link and Sgt Lonergan said that the case could be adjourned for a further two weeks to January 18th for disclosure to be made.
Giving evidence during a bail hearing last month for Mr Lonia, Garda Sebastian Pychynski said that it will be alleged that while Mr Lonia was being detained at Ennis Garda Station, a Garda on the night-shift at the station opened a hatch to a cell door and had a cup of urine thrown into his face by Mr Lonia.
During the course of the bail hearing where Gardai were opposing bail for Mr Lonia, Mr Lonia said: “I am sorry about that. I want to apologise.”
Along with the alleged ‘urine’ assault, Mr Lonia is also charged with the assault of another Garda where the accused is alleged to have thrown Coca Cola into the face of a second Garda’s face through the cell door hatch.
Mr Lonia also apologised for the second alleged assault.
Mr Lonia was also before the court for three theft charges at the Ennis branch of Penney’s on December 11th where he is accused of stealing goods to the value of €68 that included a military jacket and hiking boots along with a public order charge near the Template Hotel in Ennis.
When charged and cautioned, Garda Pychynski said the accused replied ‘suck my d**k’ at 11.30pm on Sunday night, December 11th at Ennis Garda Station.
Judge Mary Larkin refused bail stating that she was not satisfied that any promises that Mr Lonia gives not to breach the law will be upheld.
Judge Larkin stated: “Also the multiplicity of alleged offences over the past week shows that he is likely to commit further offences.”
In evidence, Mr Lonia said: “I have no home. I have been sleeping outside.”
Mr Lonia said: “I have been sleeping in a Dublin Garda Station and in Ennis Garda Station a number of times.”
Mr Lonia has applied for accommodation to Clare County Council but without any success so far.
Mr Lonia said that he had been receiving €206 per week in social welfare payments and that has now been reduced to €175. He said: “I am looking for a job. I am a chef.”
Sgt Lonergan said to Mr Lonia “while there is great empathy for the position you find yourself in, there is concern that you will commit further alleged thefts”.
Mr Lonia said: “I won’t.”
Judge Gabbett remanded Mr Lonia in custody to January 18th to Ennis District Court.