Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Man 'took law into his own hands' by blocking sheep farmer on road

 

Stock photo
Stock photo

Court Reporter

Sligo District Court heard of 'fractious' relations between two neighbours in the region.

The Sligo Champion reports that the court heard that a man who blocked his neighbour with his car on a narrow country road "took the law into his own hands in the most arrogant and unacceptable way".

It says that was the view of Judge Kevin Kilrane who convicted 47-year-old Frank McGovern of obstructing traffic at Ballintrillick on June 11, 2016.

The court heard that McGovern, of Aughamore, Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, stopped his BMW estate on a narrow stretch of road and stopped sheep farmer Mr Hugh Gilmartin from proceeding.

The whole incident lasted less than two minutes and was captured on Mr Gilmartin's dash cam.

The witness said he was tending his sheep up in Gleniff and met McGovern, who lives directly next door to him in Kinlough, on the road at Ballintrillick.

Mr Gilmartin said he pulled in to let him pass but McGovern stopped, got out of his car, walked over to his window and accused him of handling a fire arm outside his home earlier that day.

The witness said the defendant kept goading him and when he eventually drove away, his daughter was filming him with her phone "in my face, hoping I would get out of the car."

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The court heard relations between the two neighbours were "fractious."

Mr Fergal Kelly, defending, asked Mr Gilmartin if he recalled taking his gun out of his car outside his front gate earlier that day.

The witness said the boot of his car was jammed so he had to remove his gun through the back seat and place it in the front seat. "I was having severe problems with dogs worrying my sheep," he said.

He admitted he should have done this inside his own driveway beforehand.

Mr Kelly said his client's daughter (14) was there and was frightened when she saw the gun.

The court heard she then called her father, the defendant, who in turn called the Gardaí who came and took a statement from them.

It was only by sheer chance that the two men met on that narrow road about 90 minutes later, whereupon the defendant accused Mr Gilmartin of pulling a gun outside his home.

Mr Gilmartin said this was investigated by Gardaí and no offence was found.

"My client will say he had authority to stop you and hold you until the Gardaí came," said Mr Kelly.

The defendant said his daughter was "hysterical" and said: "I got out of the car to delay him so the Garda would be able to apprehend him."

Judge Kilrane dismissed this defence as "ludicrous" as the Gardaí were "next nigh nor near" the scene. He ordered McGovern give an undertaking on oath in relation to "this attitude of taking the law into his own hands in the most arrogant, unacceptable way."

McGovern gave a sworn undertaking not to obstruct Mr Gilmartin on the public roadway. Judge Kilrane then applied the Probation Act Section 1.1.


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