Prisoner cuffed in Portlaoise court to protect the public

Disturbance in court as man tries to pass item to prisoner

Prisoner cuffed in Portlaoise court to protect the public

A 34-year-old man charged with driving off from a filling station without paying for petrol or diesel was kept in handcuffs to protect the public at Portlaoise District Court following an incident in which another man attempted to pass him an item while he was in custody.

Stephen Penrose, Newtown Court, Malahide Road, Dublin, was charged at a recent sitting of the court with making off without payment, from Maxol Service Station, Portarlington, on September 6, 2016.

He pleaded not guilty and the matter was put back to March 6.

As the accused was being led into the courtroom on Thursday, February 15, an incident took place between him and another man who was appearing before the court.

Judge Catherine Staines rose and the business of the court was temporarily suspended as gardaí and prison officers intervened, with the second man escorted from the courtroom and brought to Portlaoise Garda Station.

The accused then appeared before Judge Staines and was kept in his restraints. A prison officer informed the judge that it was necessary to keep the handcuffs on as there had been an issue.

Judge Staines noted that there was no secure area in the court, so to protect the public the accused was kept in handcuffs.

The accused previously appeared before the local court back in December, where he was charged with hijacking a woman’s car in the car park of a Portarlington store.

He was charged with offences including hijacking, robbery, and the unauthorised taking of an MPV, at Lidl car park, Portarlington, on May 15 this year.

The accused was remanded in custody to appear in the CCJ on December 27 last.

In a separate matter, the accused has also been charged with murder in County Kildare in 2016.

He was charged at Naas District Court with the murder of Philip Finnegan at Rahin Wood.

The State alleges that he murdered Mr Finnegan on August 10, 2016 by stabbing him multiple times and placing his body in a shallow grave.

The accused made no reply when charged and cautioned.

The DPP has directed that the accused be tried in the Central Criminal Court.