Woman tells court she felt she was being watched

Published 05/12/2012 | 09:14

A SHILLELAGH MAN who sent around 100 unsolicited texts to a Carnew woman because of his 'infatuation' with her was handed down a suspended prison sentence and fined at last Wednesday's sitting of Arklow District Court.

James O'Brien (23), 27 Millbank, Shillelagh was charged with harassing Ruby Dagg at Tomacork, Carnew on July 27, 2010.

Garda Adrian Delaney said that Ruby Dagg had made 'numerous complaints' to gardaí about receiving text messages from an unknown person.

Gardaí identified O'Brien as the suspect and on June 18, 2011, Garda Delaney called to O'Brien's home and arrested him under Section 10 of the Non Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997.

He was brought to Baltinglass Garda Station and questioned where he admitted texting Ms. Dagg. The court heard Ms. Dagg made three statements to gardaí and the court heard there was a 'substantial number' of texts involved, around 100 in total.

The court heard the texts had been sent by O'Brien at various times of the day and night, some of which would cause Ms. Dagg to awaken.

Garda Delaney said some of the texts made reference to where Ms. Dagg had been out socialising.

'So it was obvious from the text he had seen her out?' asked Judge David Kennedy.

'Yes', said Garda Delaney. He said Ms. Dagg in her statement said, 'I feel as though I have been watched as I go about my normal business. I am in constant fear. I am worried about my safety.'

The court heard O'Brien has one previous conviction for cruelty to animals.

Garda Delaney said the text messages have since stopped.

Acting for O'Brien solicitor Tom Honan said the texts were not of a ' lewd' nature and said it was 'more infatuation'.

He said O'Brien 'didn't understand the consequences of what he was doing' adding some of the messages had been sent when O'Brien had alcohol taken but said this was not an excuse.

'He realises the inappropriateness of his behaviour and wishes to make whatever undertaking necessary', said Mr. Honan.

He said there would be ' no question of a reoccurrence'.

Judge Kennedy handed down a six-month prison sentence which he suspended for two years in O'Brien's own bond of €500.

He also fined him €1,500 and ordered him to have no contact with Ms. Dagg.

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