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Saturday 21 July 2018

Farmer hit his brother with branch of a tree in ongoing feud over site

Brother told court he "tried to cool down, but couldn’t"

Judge Daly said that the case was particularly sad because the assault had been witnessed by one of the brother's three-year-old daughter, meaning that the feud between the pair could potentially carry on to the next generation.
Judge Daly said that the case was particularly sad because the assault had been witnessed by one of the brother's three-year-old daughter, meaning that the feud between the pair could potentially carry on to the next generation.

Court Reporter

“Good fences make good neighbours,” Judge Colin Daly told two brothers who were in court after one was found guilty of assaulting the other.

He added that it was “extremely sad” that the relationship between the defendant John Kelly of Raheendaragh, Borris had broken down so badly with his brother James Kelly of Skahanrane, Bagenalstown that they found themselves in court.

Judge Daly found John Kelly guilty of assaulting James Kelly at Skahanrane on 3 May 2016, after they had an argument about the latter taking a piece of wood from John’s land.

Judge Daly said that the case was particularly sad because the assault had been witnessed by James’s three-year-old daughter, meaning that the feud between the pair could potentially carry on to the next generation.

In his evidence, James Kelly said that he was cutting timber in a boundary ditch between his land and his brother’s and that when a branch fell on to his brother’s side of the ditch, he went to retrieve it.

He said he wanted the log because they kept horses and that they liked to nibble on them.

He continued that he was in the field with his daughter when John appeared and began to shout and swear at him.

He said that John then hit him with a stick across his back, when he fell to the ground.

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Judge Daly heard that James’s little girl began screaming and that James’s wife Shauna Renton arrived on the scene and took their daughter.

Asked by Inspector Colin Furlong why his brother would want to hit him, James Kelly said that they’d had an argument in 2009 over a site that John had given him and that “relations had broken down between them”.

Ms Renton also gave evidence saying that she was near the stables on their land when she heard someone shouting and then her daughter crying.

She continued that she ran to the field, where she saw "John manhandling (my) husband and shouting at him".

When asked by Insp Furlong if she had actually seen her husband being struck by his brother, she said that she hadn’t, but that she had seen him pushing her husband towards the boundary ditch.

Eamonn Cahill, a farm helper who was doing tillage work for James Kelly, also gave evidence. He testified that he saw John shouting and swearing at James before hitting him with a branch of a tree.

"If his small child wasn’t there, it could’ve been a different matter"

John Kelly, who was defending himself, then asked Mr Cahill if he was sure he saw him hitting his brother.

"100pc sure. I wouldn’t be here only that I’m 100pc sure," Mr Cahill replied.

John Kelly then gave evidence in his own defence, stating that when he saw his brother in his field, he was "infuriated".

"There’s no other way I can describe it. I tried to cool down, but I couldn’t".

Continuing his evidence, he said that he didn’t hit his brother because he didn’t want to "confront him in front of the child".

When Insp Furlong put it to him that he may have used restraint but that the force he used against his brother was still unjustified.

John Kelly replied that his brother stumbled and may have injured himself.

"If his small child wasn’t there, it could’ve been a different matter," he said, denying the assault charge.

Judge Daly then found that the State had met its case, particularly on the evidence of Mr Cahill, an independent witness.

When John Kelly was asked if there was anything he wanted to say, he replied that he "only wanted to protect his property".

"The relationship isn’t good. He’s been given everything he’s ever wanted all his life by everyone, including from me," John said.

"There’s only so much one can take."

Judge Daly said that it was "an extremely sad day when family relationships break down, but it’s even worse that a child saw the incident between her father and her uncle".

He added that it was "extremely difficult for the court to deal with cases like these" because they can’t ease relationships.

“Good fences make good neighbours,” he said, before binding John Kelly over to keep the peace for a year. He also ordered him to pay a €250 donation to the ISPCA and adjourned the case until March 7 to enable the defendant to do so.


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