These Bastards want Lenienency; Tom Niland got a Brutal Beating, he was shown No Mercy, these three should not get Bail, Fucking Disgrace?

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Bail terms set for pair charged over ‘horrific’ burglary at Sligo pensioner Tom Niland’s home – Yesterday 19:25

21st April 2022

AJUDGE HAS set bail at €11,500 with strict conditions for two men charged over an aggravated burglary at the home of severely injured Sligo pensioner Tom Niland.

The farmer, 73, remains on life support after a “horrific” incident at his home in Doonflynn, Skreen, Co Sligo, on 18 January last.

Gardaí later charged John Clarke, 33, of Carrowkelly, Ballina, Co Mayo, Francis Harmon, 54, Nephin Court, Killala Road, Ballina and John Irving, 28, of Shanwar, Foxford, Co Mayo, with aggravated burglary in connection with the incident.

All three were remanded in custody on 10 March; two weeks later, at Sligo District Court, Irving and Clarke were refused bail by Judge Alan Mitchell.

Irving and Clarke brought a new bail application to the High Court, which opened before Mr Justice David Keane last week.

The State objected due to the seriousness of the case and flight risk fears.

Delivering his ruling today, Mr Justice Keane held conditions could offset the prosecution’s concerns.

He noted the defendants had limited means and he set bail in bonds of €1,500, with €500 to be lodged in each case.

He also stipulated that they needed independent sureties, both in the sum of €10,000. The two men appeared via a video link to Castlerea Prison but did not address the court.

If necessary, they were permitted two independent sureties of €5,000, which could be approved in the district court.

Mr Justice Keane ordered them to provide gardaí with mobile phone numbers and remain contactable 24/7, sign on daily at a garda station, obey 8pm to 8am curfews, surrender passports and travel documents and not apply for new ones.

Clarke must live at his current residence; the co-defendant has to stay at an address that has to be approved by gardaí.

Detective Sergeant Michael Kelly agreed with Joe Mulrean BL, for the State, that the offence can carry a life sentence on conviction.

At approximately 6.30pm on 18 January, he said, Tom Niland was watching the news when he noticed a van reversing into his driveway before a knock on his door.

The court heard he answered but was “rushed by three men wearing masks”. It was alleged they forced him into the house and demanded money.

He believed a knife was produced, he was threatened, and they “punched and kicked him on the ground”.

The bail hearing was told he suffered life-threatening injuries, including a bleed on his brain, a broken eye socket, and five broken ribs.

Detective Sergeant Kelly alleged Mr Niland said the men kept demanding money and “continued to assault him viciously”.

The court heard they tied his legs, and he told the men his wallet containing €80 was in his trouser pocket. It was taken, and he passed out. Afterwards, he woke up outside the front door.

Detective Sergeant Kelly said the pensioner’s home was “ransacked”, adding, “it was a horrific scene”.

He said there was a lot of blood, and a knife was discarded.

The court heard Mr Niland untied the knot and then “struggled on his feet” from his driveway to the main road and raised the alarm.

Four days later, a kayaker found his wallet at a lake, and nearby gardai recovered two sets of gloves with Mr Niland’s blood on the outside.

At first, he made progress in hospital and gave a statement to gardaí. However, on 26 January, his condition deteriorated, and he has remained on life support since. The court heard a consultant doctor had stated, “the outlook remains poor,” and he was still on a ventilator.

Gardaí obtained CCTV and DNA evidence and examined phone data during the investigation.

The court heard the defendants lived 50 or 60 miles away, but there was an alleged “local link in the targetting of Thomas Niland”.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Aoife O’Leary, Detective Sergeant Kelly said bail conditions would not alleviate his concerns.

The court heard father of three, Irving, was on social welfare and arrested while collecting his payment. Counsel said he had family ties, his mother with whom he lived and his grandmother, both in ill health.

The barrister submitted that he did not have a passport or driving licence and did not have the means to leave the country. She said he could raise €500 bail.

Clarke, a father of three, was on disability benefit and resided with his mother.

Their barrister said they were willing to abide by any conditions.

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