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Judge threatens local men with jail over failure to pay wedding marquee fine

Oct 5, 2021 13:10 By Shannonside News
Judge threatens local men with jail over failure to pay wedding marquee fine Judge threatens local men with jail over failure to pay wedding marquee fine
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Judge Keenan Johnson dismissed arguments from the defendants and gave them a 2-week deadline.

Two Longford men at the centre of a contempt of court case have been given two weeks to pay a court-ordered fine or face jail.

William Stokes along with his son Patrick Stokes were among 4 parties fined following a marquee wedding reception in Longford town that breached a court order last May.

The event saw over 100 people attend a marquee set up on Council lands on the N5 Strokestown Road earlier this year, following a court order to prevent the gathering.

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Presiding over Longford Circuit Court in May, Judge Keenan Johnson ordered that William Stokes, his father Patrick Stokes both of Willow Park, Longford along with Stephen Kelly, Farneyhoogan, Longford and a local restaurant and caterer pay €3,000 euro each to 3 local charities.

While the caterer of the wedding paid their fine in full, counsel for the two families informed the judge in June that they had only managed to gather a combined total of €650 out of the €9,000 fine.

The family were then given what Judge Johnson described as 'a final chance' and were ordered to have all monies paid by today.

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Appearing before the court this morning, Stephen Kelly had a total of €1,000 to be paid against his fine.

When queried by Judge Keenan Johnson, Patrick and William stokes presented €350 to the court.

An annoyed Judge Johnson accused the two men of playing ducks and drakes with the system in relation to court orders.

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He claimed all parties had been extended a huge degree of latitude, and ordered both men to have €1,000 each in two weeks time or 'have their bags packed, they're going to jail'.

This was challenged by counsel for the defendants who sought to remind the judge that the issue must first go to trial to decide on whether the two Stokes men were in contempt of court.

Meanwhile, Stephen kelly who had paid €1000 to court this morning was given until January 22nd to come up with a further €1,000 euro.

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The matter comes before the court again on October 22nd.

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