Red card | 

Former Ireland soccer star Anthony Stokes on road to more trouble

Controversial ex-international player was already facing serious motoring offences when he was arrested by gardai last Friday

Stokes, who is wanted in Scotland, pictured in Ireland gear during his international playing days© SPORTSFILE

Stokes with his father John

Stokes posing with a drink on his Instagram account

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Former Republic of Ireland footballer Anthony Stokes was already facing prosecution for serious driving offences when he was arrested on Friday morning.

The Sunday World has learned that Stokes was stopped by gardai in Dublin last October and officers were in the process of bringing charges against him for driving without a licence and insurance arising from that incident.

But Stokes now faces a raft of much more serious charges arising from the circumstances of his latest arrest and the subsequent discovery of a quantity of white powder – suspected to be cocaine valued at in excess of €4,500 – inside the vehicle.

A conviction for dangerous driving carries with it a jail sentence of up to six months, while one for possession of drugs – which may arise in the event the substance is confirmed to be cocaine – carries with it a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison.

Stokes with his father John

Friday’s incident is the latest in a series of high-profile brushes with the law that Stokes – who also has a bench warrant for his arrest active against him in Scotland – has been involved in.

Efforts to contact the 34-year-old through his social media accounts yesterday went unanswered.

Stokes has been most active through his Instagram account, on which he keeps verified public and private profiles.

Last August he posted a message on his public account outlining the difference between ‘snitches’ and ‘rats’.

“Snitches and rats are not the same thing,” he posted.

“Let me break it down to make sure y’all see what I mean.

“A snitch is someone minding other folks’ business to find information they can sell for a price or trade for some other form of compensation.

“A rat is a traitor. A conceiver, planner or physical participator. He doesn’t sell secrets for power or cash.

“He betrays the trust of his team or his family hoping to save his own cowardly ass.

“The difference is at least a snitch is human. But a rat is just a f**king rat.”

The post led to followers questioning Stokes as to “what happened?” Another wrote: “You okay?”

Stokes’ posts on Instagram also show he has been regularly visiting Dublin over the past year, including one trip to celebrate a “belated birthday catch-up with the old man”, last June.

Stokes’ father is John Stokes – the former owner of the infamous Player’s Lounge public house in Fairview, Dublin.

Little is publicly known of Anthony Stokes’ finances.

An investment company he ran with his father, Tinner Investments Ltd, went into receivership in 2013.

A former Celtic, Hibs, Sunderland and Arsenal player, Stokes was pulled over by gardai following the alleged incident in Crumlin in Dublin in the early hours of Friday morning.

According to sources, officers observed the vehicle being driving in a dangerous manner and say it failed to stop when indicated to do so.

Another male, who is in his 30s, was also in the vehicle at the time.

The car was ultimately brought to a controlled stop before both men were arrested and detained at Crumlin Garda Station overnight.

During a search of the vehicle gardai discovered a quantity of white powder which, pending analysis, is suspected to be cocaine with an estimated value of in the region of €4,500.

Both men were questioned in Crumlin Garda Station before they were station charged in connection with the dangerous driving incident.

They were then released and have yet to be given a formal date to appear in court in relation to the charge.

Station charges allow for a period of up to one month during which a suspect must be formally charged with an offence before a court.

A Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí arrested two men (aged in their 30s) in the early hours of Friday morning, 6th January 2023 in relation to incidents of dangerous driving in Dublin 12.

Stokes posing with a drink on his Instagram account

“A quantity of drugs was also recovered from the offending vehicle.

“Both men were detained in Crumlin Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 and have been charged in relation to this.

“They have since been bailed and are due to appear before court at a later date.”

In an unconnected case, Stokes is wanted by police in Scotland on foot of an arrest warrant issued last September in relation to an ongoing sentencing hearing he failed to attend.

The warrant was issued after he failed to show up in Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Stokes – who was capped nine times by the Republic of Ireland – was banned from contacting his former partner and her mother for four years in September 2019 and was handed four-year non-harassment orders after he admitted stalking.

At the time, sentencing was deferred for Stokes to be of good behaviour.

But the footballer later admitted breaching the non-harassment orders by repeatedly sending emails and texts to his former girlfriend and repeatedly calling her mother in November and December 2019.

He also admitted causing his ex-partner fear or alarm by repeatedly sending her messages between November 16th and December 3, 2019 in which he did “swear and utter offensive remarks”, and by repeatedly telephoning her parents to “utter inappropriate and offensive remarks” about her.

Following his failure to appear in court for sentencing, Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen ordered a warrant for his arrest.

Separately, in January of last year, Stokes had his prosecution for headbutting a man in Dublin’s Temple Bar struck out due to the absence of a key witness.

He was accused of assault causing harm to Fraser Spratt at Fitzgerald’s pub on Aston Quay, Dublin 2, on March 16, 2019, which he denied.

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

Stokes claimed he acted in self-defence.

On the night in question, he had been at the bar with his girlfriend.

His solicitor told the court his client “says he acted at all times in self-defence, proportionately”.

A lengthy adjournment was required for the hearing at Dublin District Court because the alleged injured party lived in the UK, the proceedings heard in 2020.

It was the second time Stokes had been before the courts in relation to headbutting someone in a bar.

In 2017, Stokes received a two-year suspended sentence for headbutting Elvis impersonator Anthony Bradley, 53, at Buck Whaley’s on Leeson Street, Dublin, on June 8, 2013.

Mr Bradley also took a separate successful civil action in the High Court against Stokes, saying that he effectively gave up his career as an Elvis impersonator after the former Ireland striker headbutted him, leaving him with a broken nose and damaged teeth.

But he never received the €230,000 awarded to him against Stokes at the conclusion of the case.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Bradley told this newspaper: “I’ve long since forgiven and forgotten Anthony Stokes.

“But it’s unfortunate for him he has gone down this road.

“I never ever thought this of him.

“He had so much potential on the football pitch.

“It’s just a really pity he didn’t focus on that.”

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos