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Man 'sent menacing packages to Health department', court told


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Mark Watts has to enter plea

Mark Watts has to enter plea

Mark Watts has to enter plea

A man sent menacing packages to the Department of Health containing leaflets with "distressing" content, it has been alleged.

Mark Watts (50) was ordered to have no contact with any minister, TD or Government department as part of his bail terms when he appeared in Dublin District Court.

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned the case for the accused to consider how he intends to plead. Mr Watts, with an address at Nicholastown, Athy, Co Kildare, is charged with sending a postal packet containing a leaflet with handwriting that was offensive or menacing.

He is facing four counts of the offence in 2019.

The prosecuting garda said she arrested the accused at Pearse Street station yesterday. He was charged at 10.03am and made no reply after caution.

He was handed copies of the charge sheets.

The DPP was directing summary disposal of the charges at District Court level, she said.

The garda said in relation to one charge sheet, it was alleged that a package was received by the Department of Health on Baggot Street in March last year.

Objection

When opened by a staff member it contained an envelope which had "very distressing" text.

The other charge sheets were all "pretty much similar", the garda said.

Judge Walsh accepted jurisdiction to deal with the case in the District Court.

There was no garda objection to bail, subject to conditions.

The judge granted Mr Watts bail in his own bond of €1,000.

Under bail conditions he is to appear in court for each remand date, be of good behaviour and not commit any offences.

He is also to have no contact directly or indirectly with any minister or TD, or any member of the Oireachtas, or Government department.

The judge said this included contact by any electronic means.

At the request of the defence, the judge ordered disclosure of prosecution documents, to include "all offending material", custody records and copies of the accused's Garda interview.

The judge granted free legal aid after Mr Byrne said his client was unemployed. There was no garda objection.

The judge said the defence would need some time to consider the charges and adjourned the case to October 12.

Herald