A MAN who took off in his sailboat, Pilgrim, and became the subject of a full-scale search by the Belfast and Valentia Coast Guards, as well as the Air Corps, appeared at Skibbereen District Court.
Jason Vas Dias (52) of Ballylynch, Baltimore, was escorted to shore in Castletownbere on Monday, May 13th by the RNLI and, shortly after landing, Gda Theresa Sheridan arrested him because there was a bench warrant out for his arrest.
She gave evidence at Skibbereen District Court that he had failed to appear at a court in Dublin on April 26th last in relation to an allegation that he had trespassed at the Poolbeg Yacht Club at Ringsend on April 5th.
The accused asked to be released on bail but Gda Sheridan told Judge James McNulty that the gardaí were objecting to bail based on the fact that the accused ‘went out to sea’ and had already been reported missing by the authorities on May 3rd last.
The accused said he had every intention of returning for his court date, but his main sail blew out and it took him three weeks ‘to get here.’
He said he had no knowledge of the fact that the Belfast and Valentia Coast Guards, as well as the Air Corps, had been out looking for him.
And he denied a submission made by Sgt Paul Kelly, for the prosecution, that he had told the Air Corps – when he was seen 18 miles out from Achill – he was ‘okay’ and didn’t require assistance. Jason Vas Dias said they didn’t speak. He said: ‘I waved to them – that’s all.’
The accused said he went around the North to try and avoid Storm Hannah, but his sail was damaged as a result of the foul weather and that he carried on despite not having an engine on his sailboat.
Jason Vas Dias gave an assurance that he would attend the Friday sitting of Dublin District Court.
He was released after he withdrew €500 from the ATM in Skibbereen in order to cover his bail.