Sunday 22 October 2017

Fireman claims he threatened to shoot a colleague in an attempt to reason with him

Declan Brennan

A fire fighter has claimed in court that he told a colleague he would shoot him in the head in an attempt to reason with him during a row.

Karl Finlay (36) said he felt delicate and bullied after the alleged victim began "goading" him about "crying like a child" during an earlier altercation.



Mr Finlay of Oldbawn Way, Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill Derek Dowling at Donnybrook Fire Station, Donnybrook, Dublin on April 5, 2011.



The two men had been working together in the kitchen of the fire station when Mr Dowling switched the radio station from Radio Nova to RTE without asking Mr Finlay.



The men began plugging and unplugging the radio. Mr Finlay told defence counsel David Hegarty BL that Mr Dowling "snapped" and struck him with his elbow in the chest at full force.



Mr Finlay said that he responded by squaring up to Mr Dowling and that Mr Dowling then grabbed him by the throat with both hands. Mr Finlay said that he was freaked out by this and began crying.



The court heard that Mr Finlay is a former soldier with the Irish Army and weighs 16.5 stone.



The two men were pulled apart but met again in the kitchen about an hour later. Mr Finlay said Mr Dowling began "goading" him and told him to "go sit in the corner and cry like that child that you are".



Mr Finlay said that these comments made him feel in a "very delicate position". He admitted telling Mr Dowling to "hit me, hit me, I'll have your job" and said that Mr Dowling warned him to be careful because he was on his "last card on this job".



The court heard that a previous suspension from his job had left Mr Finlay feeling suicidal. He told the court that he felt intimidated and bullied by Mr Dowling and that he felt his job and his life were under threat.



Mr Finlay said he responded by asking Mr Dowling: "How about I threaten you? How about I shoot you in the head?"



Mr Finlay told the court that he said this not as a threat but as a hypothetical suggestion in order to try to jolt Mr Dowling into ending the row.



He said: "It wasn't a threat. It was a question. I pose no threat to Derek. He is a friend and a colleague. I would walk through a wall for him."



The alleged victim previously gave evidence that Mr Finlay put his hand in the shape of a gun and said he would put a bullet in his head and would shoot the rest of his family.



Mr Finlay denied making the handgun gesture or threatening the other man's family.



The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of six men and six women.

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