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Dublin: -1°C Monday 25 January 2021

Footballer Anthony Stokes appears in court accused of headbutting man in Temple Bar pub

The alleged incident took place during the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin last year.

File photo. Former Celtic footballer Anthony Stokes.
File photo. Former Celtic footballer Anthony Stokes.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images

PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLER ANTHONY Stokes has appeared in court accused of headbutting a man in a Temple Bar pub during the St Patrick’s festival last year.

The 31-year-old former Celtic striker and Republic of Ireland star from Dublin, who has just finished a six-month stint with Iranian club Persepolis, claims he acted in self-defence.

He was charged today and appeared before Judge Anthony Halpin at the late sitting of Dublin District Court.

He is accused of assault causing harm to a named man at Fitzgerald’s pub on Aston Quay, in Dublin 2, on 16 March 2019.

The charge is under section three of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Stokes, who has an address at Wyckham Point, in Dundrum, Dublin 14, “made no reply to the charge”.

Garda Donal O’Neill told the court the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed summary disposal meaning the case should stay in the district court and not be dealt with in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

The footballer was arrested at just after 3.10pm at Pearse Street garda station and charged minutes later, Judge Anthony Halpin was told.

An outline of the evidence was given for the judge to rule on the issue of jurisdiction.

Garda O’Neill said it was alleged Stokes headbutted the complainant once, “knocking him to the ground and temporarily losing consciousness”.

However, the man did not suffer lasting injuries, the court was told. The complainant was not in court.

Stokes, dressed in a black shirt and black trousers, remained silent throughout the hearing and wore a protective face mask.

Judge Halpin accepted jurisdiction for the case to be dealt with in the district court which can, on conviction, impose a 12-month sentence for the offence.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan, of Belfast-based firm Phoenix Law, told Judge Halpin his client denies the charge.

He told the court on the night in question Stokes had been at the bar with his girlfriend “and says he acted at all times in self-defence, proportionately”.

There was no objection to bail with conditions.

Judge Halpin ordered Stokes to continue living at his current residence in Ireland and notify gardaí if he obtains work outside the State, and provide the address as well as name of the employer.

He has given gardaí his mobile phone number and must be contactable at all times. Garda O’Neill said the accused had been available for contact throughout the investigation.

Stokes was ordered to appear again on 27 July next for a plea to be formally entered and a hearing date set.

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Tom Tuite

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