Lochside Garage

Man accused of burgling churches keeps up “charade”

A JUDGE has refused to allow a man who claimed to be a deaf mute to be released on bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence for a brutal attack on police and custody staff, with his previous performance in court branded “a charade”.
Abraham Jakobovits (41) from Fortwilliam Gardens, Belfast is currently remanded in custody accused of burgling two churches in Fivemiletown. Following arrest for these matters he was brought to Dungannon Courthouse on December 22, violently turning on police and custody officers.
A week before these matters were to be contested, Dungannon Magistrates Court was told Jakobovits communicates by writing notes. But after hearing excerpts from police statements, it was decided by the judge sitting that day, the communication issues are “elective” and no assistance was required.
The hearing on these charges, which occurred in the custody area of Dungannon Courthouse, went ahead but not before a second attempt to adjourn in order to obtain a sign language interpreter, before a different judge than had previously rejected special assistance was required.
Having heard evidence from the victims, who detailed physical assaults, biting, spitting and verbal abuse, District Judge John Meehan ruled, “He (Jakobovits) is perfectly able to hear and speak, and with a good grasp of profanity.”
As the contest proceeded in Jakobovits absence, the defence could only assert that he never spoke throughout his time in custody.
This was rubbished by Judge Meehan who convicted on all counts and described Jakobovits as displaying “remarkable contempt”.
A prison sentence of 10 months was imposed.
The defendant however appeared again by video-link at the most recent court sitting in respect of the burglary matters.
Providing an update on the case, a prosecuting lawyer advised An Garda Siochana are seeking information on Jakobovits in respect of other matters in the Republic.
It has also emerged Jakobovits has sacked his previous solicitors, and engaged another firm, the fourth to date since his case came to court.
The latest solicitor attempted to put forward his client’s “communication difficulties” but was cut short. Judge Meehan said, “This is an elective mute. I’ve already ruled on this. It is just a charade.”
Nonetheless the defence applied for bail to appeal the recent conviction and sentence.
The judge said, “Bail is refused. A man who makes false claims as to hearing and speaking then refuses to engage with the anyone, creates a credibility issue in resect of any constraints which may be placed upon him if released. Leave to appeal is granted but he won’t be released in advance. However, he would be well-advised to bear in mind sentences at appeal can go up as well as down.”
Jakobovits will appear again by video-link next month.


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