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Christopher Johnson, 45, is accused of breaking into the car of Ukrainian refugees after they fled the war-torn country to Ireland

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A man has been accused of breaking into a car belonging to Ukrainian refugees as they arrived in Dublin after fleeing their war-torn country.

Christopher Johnson, 45, is said to have stolen clothing and other personal belongings from the couple’s car while it was parked at a hotel north of the city.

Judge Bernadette Owens granted him bail when he appeared before Dublin District Court.

The case was adjourned for the instructions of the DPP.

Mr Johnson of The Botanic, Prospect Hill, Finglas, is charged March 24 with stealing property including clothing, a guitar and a laptop and criminally damaging the car.

The burglary is said to have taken place in the underground car park of the Travel Lodge Hotel, Shangan Road, Ballymun.

Separately, Mr Johnson is also said to have vandalized and stolen property from another car parked at the same location.

Garda Andy McDonnell said he arrested the accused at 1.45pm yesterday at The Plaza, Ballymun and took him to Ballymun station.

He was charged there at 5.51pm yesterday and, after being cautioned, did not respond to any of the charges. Copies of the charge sheets were handed to him.

Gda Johnson had no objection to conditional bail.

Judge Owens granted the defendant €300 bail without cash. Under certain conditions, Mr Johnson must report to Ballymun Garda train station three times a week, observe a night curfew between 11pm and 6am and stay away from the Travel Lodge Hotel in Ballymun.

The Garda had initially demanded a daily sign on the condition that the accused be “kept under surveillance” and that he comply with bail conditions.

Judge Owens said three days should be enough.

The judge granted free legal aid at the request of defense attorney John Heaney, who said Mr Johnson was unemployed.

The defense agreed to the bail terms, he said. Gda McDonnell said the DPP instructions were excellent.

Judge Owens remanded the defendant, who was on bail, to appear in court again on May 17.

The defendant has not yet indicated how he intends to plead the charges, which fall under the theft and fraud and criminal damage statutes.

Gardaí said the property is still missing but efforts to recover it continue.

The Ukrainian refugees whose car was allegedly broken into had fled their homeland of Kyiv in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They drove through a number of countries before arriving in Ireland just two weeks before the alleged theft.

The couple said they were surprised to be stolen as the car had Ukrainian license plates and “the whole world knows about Ukraine”.

“It was obvious that we are refugees and that’s all we have,” said one of the alleged victims.

They were unable to get their insurance to cover the cost of the missing items, but a GoFundMe page raised over €15,000 for them.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/christopher-johnson-45-accused-of-breaking-into-ukrainian-refugees-car-after-they-fled-war-torn-country-for-ireland-41565974.html Christopher Johnson, 45, is accused of breaking into the car of Ukrainian refugees after they fled the war-torn country to Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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