Solicitor forced out of home by 'abusive and threatening' neighbour
Published 05/05/2011 | 05:00
Vincent McDonnell leaving the Circuit Civil Court yesterday. Collins Courts
A leading solicitor and his wife were forced to leave their home because of the threatening and abusive behaviour of a neighbour, a judge has heard.
On one occasion, the man allegedly told the solicitor's wife that she and her husband were "scum".
Barrister Paul McCarthy told the Circuit Civil Court that solicitor John Campbell and his wife, Margaret, had quit their home because they feared what Vincent McDonnell, a telephonist for Eircom, would do to them.
"He used abuse and threats toward the Campbells to the extent that they feared they would be physically battered by him," Mr Mc Carthy, counsel for the Campbells, said.
Mr McCarthy said the Campbells had rented out their home at 24 Cowper Village, Rathmines, Dublin 6, and had moved to a new home in Fortfield Terrace, Rathmines, to get away from Mr McDonnell.
Mr McDonnell, of 23 Cowper Village, denied that he had threatened the Campbells, but Judge Jacqueline Linnane told him she accepted the account given by Mr and Mrs Campbell about his behaviour towards them.
She granted four injunctions against Mr McDonnell, restraining him from behaving in any threatening, abusive or intimidating manner towards the couple or approaching their new home at Fortfield Terrace, Rathmines.
The judge also restrained Mr McDonnell from parking any vehicle, trailer, machine or bins
in a joint car park next to the Campbells' rented-out property in Cowper Village or from using the car park for business purposes.
She awarded legal costs against Mr McDonnell and warned him that any breach of the restraints could be very serious for him as the Campbells could seek to have him committed to prison for contempt of court.
Ms Campbell told the court that she had been put in fear of Mr McDonnell. On an occasion in October 2007, when passing him, she had said hello to him.
He said hello -- but then added: "If I had realised who you were I wouldn't have spoken to you, because you are nothing but scum and your husband is scum."
Mr McCarthy told the court the Campbells' claim arose from an unfortunate tension and difficulty that developed between the parties from 2007 due to a dispute about Mr McDonnell using the car park area to promote a gardening business he ran in his spare time.
Mr McCarthy said Mr McDonnell on a number of occasions had acknowledged and apologised for his behaviour and had undertaken not to repeat his wrongdoing. Unfortunately his behaviour had not abated or moderated.
Mr McDonnell told the judge he now withdrew from any undertaking. He said a gardening and handyman project carried on from his home was a small endeavour and he alleged he had been threatened on his own doorstep by Mr Campbell.
The judge said she would not make any order for damages against Mr McDonnell.