first_imgTWO men, who are accused of extorting €15,000 from a Buncrana family, have claimed they are being denied basic human rights in prison.Kevin Harkin, 30, of 71A Rosnagalliagh, Derry and Seamus Mahon, 34, with an address of 92 Altcar Park, Galliagh, both appeared in handcuffs in Buncrana District Court.The duo had spent the previous four nights in Castlerea prison after they were arrested at Ture, Muff on Friday last, April 22. They both appeared before a special sitting of Sligo District Court that night jointly charged with making an unwarranted demand to extort monies to the sum of €15,000 with menace from a local couple.However last Tuesday the men reappeared before Buncrana Court after being transported by prison officers from Castlerea allowing their solicitors to apply for bail.Solicitor for Harkin, Donnacha Cleary told the court that the Derry man would reside with his sister’s partner in Carndonagh and sign on regularly in Inishowen.Similarly solicitor for Mahon, Pat McMyler said there was a possibility that his client could live in a family property in Malin, which belonged to his father and uncle.The men claimed they had been denied human rights in jail as they hadn’t been allowed to shower or change their clothes since they were arrested on Friday.“No shower, no phonecalls and the same clothes since Friday,” said Kevin Harkin.“What about human rights? What about our human rights?” said Seamus Mahon.The court was told Harkin’s partner’s had brought a change of clothes to the court but was informed they could not be handed over.Superintendent Eugene McGovern stated the men were not permitted to take anyadditional property back with them to prison. He said the accused’s partners were welcome to bring the stuff to Castlerea Prison where a member of the prison service would examine it thoroughly.He said any other concerns were a ‘matter for the prison service’.Mr. Cleary said there was a certain ‘degree of rancour’ being shown towards the two Derry men.While Mahon’s solicitor Pat McMyler asked Judge Paul Kelly to direct that €50 could be given to the men by their partner’s to buy ‘a few cigarettes’ and items in prison.While, Judge Kelly said be believed that the claims that the prisoners had been denied showers was ‘not proper’ he added that this and Mr. McMyler’s calls for the Derry to be given cash was not a matter for the district court.Earlier in the hearing, Mr. McMyler raised concerns that he was not allowed to consult with his client in private. The prison officer accompanying the Derry man said he could not consent to allow Mahon in the consultation room in the courthouse claiming that it wasn’t secure.A clearly outraged Mr. McMyler did not accept this, adding there were bars on the window, with Judge Kelly adding that he was ‘entitled to consult’ with a solicitor in private.However Judge Kelly also accepted that ‘people had broken out of courthouses in this country before’.After inspecting the consultation rooms, Supt. McGovern said they were not suitable. He suggested that they could return to the Garda Station in Buncrana to allow them to consult with their solicitors in a secure environment.However, Mr. McMyler said this was unacceptable. He said everyone had the right to consult privately in the facilities in the Buncrana Courthouse and his client shouldn’t be treated differently.After some argument, Gardaí approved a private consultation in the rooms downstairs in the courthouse, which were deemed more appropriate.Regarding the bail application, Supt. McGovern told the court that the strenuously objected to bail given the seriousness of the charge. He said on conviction in the Circuit Court the penalty for the alleged offence of extortion was up to 14 years in prison.He described the ‘strength of the garda evidence’ against the two men as ‘extremelysignificant’.The Buncrana Superintendent also said that he had ‘significant concerns’ relating to the intimidation of witnesses connected with the case.He also revealed that he was awaiting DPP instructions on which court ‘venue’ the case would be heard.Regarding Mr. Harkin, Supt. McGovern said he objected to the Carndonagh address which Mr. Cleary had provided.Mr. Cleary said he didn’t understand the basis of the objection.“I am not aware of the strength of the evidence but I have an address, Mr. Harkin’s partner’s brother, Martin O’Connor lives in Carn and there is a room there for him.Mr. O’Conner says he is welcome,” said Mr. Cleary.“I’m not sure what the basis for the objection is – perhaps we could try and bridge the gap with the Gardaí in relation to their objection.”Mr. McMyler said he had an address in Malin for Mr. Mahon and would be able to gather cash for an independent surety, however that he would need time to arrange for money to be transferred. Supt. McGovern said he also objected to bail being granted for Mr. Mahon on any circumstances.Judge Kelly remanded the Derry pair in custody to appear before Letterkenny Circuit Court next Tuesday, May 3.TWO MEN ACCUSED OF EXTORTING MONEY FROM DONEGAL FAMILY was last modified: April 29th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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