Man in court charged over firework incident at anti-lockdown protest

Jake Merriman (30) faces five charges, including production of eight-shot firework

Legal aid was granted after the court heard the accused  is currently in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Legal aid was granted after the court heard the accused is currently in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

 

A protester accused of launching a firework at gardaí­ during an anti-lockdown demonstration in Dublin on Saturday has been granted bail.

Jake Merriman (30) was charged and appeared at Dublin District Court where Judge Brian O’Shea refused jurisdiction and held that the case should go forward to a higher court.

Mr Merriman, from Meadowlands Avenue, Monkstown, Dublin, was arrested on Tuesday. He was charged at 11.25pm at Irishtown Garda station with five offences and brought to court on Wednesday.

He is accused of production of weapons during an assault – an eight-shot firework and two glass bottles – at Grafton Street. He also has two other charges for possessing other glass bottles which were capable of causing serious injury.

Det Sgt Patrick Traynor told the judge that the accused made no reply when charged. He said directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had not been received. The judge refused jurisdiction after hearing an outline of the allegations.

Det Sgt Traynor alleged that Mr Merriman was present at a protest on Grafton Street on February 27th last during which violence erupted. It was alleged, “objects, missiles and fireworks were fired at members of An Garda Síochána”.

Det Sgt Traynor said an eight-shot firework was discharged and glass bottles were thrown. He agreed with defence counsel Keith Spencer that the five charges did not overlap and that they related to separate incidents.

The judge held the case was too serious to be dealt with at District Court level. He adjourned it until April 14th next for the DPP to indicate consent to trial in the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers and for a book of evidence to be completed by the State.

Det Sgt Traynor objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case. He said CCTV evidence had been obtained and there were witnesses.

Mr Merriman did not address the court.

Counsel pleaded for bail.

The judge said he appreciated the seriousness of the charges but it could be dealt with by way of bail conditions.

Mr Merriman, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, was remanded on bail in his own bond of €200. He must sign on twice a week at Shankill Garda station, stay away from Grafton Street and the entire Dublin 2 area, and reside at an address handed into court.

Counsel asked for it not to be read out, adding that there had been “a substantial amount of fanfare”. The judge said he understood, in case there were repercussions.

Legal aid was granted after the court heard the accused had worked in a power-washing business, but is now in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.