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Man sent forward for trial accused of launching firework at gardaí during Covid protest

The allegations relate to a protest on 27 February this year.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A MAN HAS been sent forward for trial accused of endangerment of life by launching a firework at gardaí during an anti-lockdown demonstration in Dublin earlier this year.

Hundreds gathered on Grafton Street on 27 February last to protest against measures aimed at halting the spread of Covid-19.

Gardaí prevented some protesters from entering St Stephen’s Green park, which had been closed.

A firework was later discharged at the top of Grafton Street, after which gardaí baton-charged protesters.

A subsequent riot led to three officers getting injured, 23 arrests and 13 people charged with public order offences. Footage of the scenes went viral online.

Gardaí later charged Jake Merriman, 30, from Meadowlands Avenue, Monkstown, Dublin.

He is accused of possessing glass bottles capable of causing serious injury, violent disorder, and endangering life by propelling a lighted firework which had a substantial risk of causing death or serious harm.

He was also charged with assault causing harm to a garda.

The accused appeared before Judge Patricia Cronin at Dublin District Court today.

Detective Sergeant Patrick Traynor served him with a book of evidence, and the Director of Public Prosecutions directed trial on indictment.

The judge granted a trial order and told Merriman he was being returned for trial at the next sitting of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the case will be listed on 28 January.

She warned that he must notify gardaí if he intended to use an alibi, and she also ordered gardaí to furnish copies of video interviews to defence solicitor Niall O’Connor.

Legal aid was granted after O’Connor said his client’s circumstances had not changed.

The solicitor said his client had been subject to several bail terms earlier, but they were later lifted.

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Detective Sergeant Traynor alleged at a previous bail hearing that an eight-shot firework was discharged, and glass bottles were thrown during the incident.

The accused, a self-employed power-washer who cleans stone walls, granite and garden patios, has not yet indicated how he will plead.

At today’s hearing, he spoke briefly to indicate he understood the court’s order and to thank the judge at the end of the proceedings.

Additional charges for minor assaults on two other gardaí are to be added to the indictment later.

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Tom Tuite

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