Monday 21 May 2018

Slovakian men were hired in North to cut down trees at centre of alleged land dispute, court hears

Letterkenny courthouse
Letterkenny courthouse

Greg Harkin

TWO Slovakian men were hired in the North to cut down trees at the centre of an alleged land dispute in Co Donegal, a court has heard.

The men – caught at 3am on Monday morning past in the tourist village of Dunfanaghy – were given suspended prison sentences when they appeared at Letterkenny District Court yesterday.

Fulsop Dusan, (44), from 104 Meadowlands, Antrim, and Juraj Bajmoczy (30), from 25 Millhouse Road, Antrim, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal damage.

Both men were dressed all in black and armed with a bow saw and a knife when gardai challenged them at the back of Patsy Dan’s bar in Dunfanaghy, Gda Niall Maguire told Judge Paul Kelly.

Nightclub owner Daniel Devine had called gardai after three large conifer trees had been felled, said the garda in evidence.

Two gardai chased the men and were able to arrest them nearby.

Gda Maguire told the court: “There is a right of way there – I can’t mention the other parties involved. We are not able to prove any linkage to this.

“They (the Slovakians) were contracted to cut these trees down under the cover of darkness. They were paid a sum of money to do this – they are two Slovak nationals living in Belfast.”

He said the trees, which were mature, had been valued at €500 each.

Defence solicitor Kieran Dillon said the actions “may have improved the view from another property”.

He said he understood the offences related to “matters which may eventually come before the civil courts” adding: “It is an ongoing dispute and there may be matters separate to this.”

The lawyer said his clients realised they had ‘foolishly’ become involved in something in a village they had no connection with at all.

He said the men – who run a car washing business – had brought €1,500 to court for compensation for Mr Devine.

Judge Paul Kelly jailed both men for a month, but suspended the sentence for a month.

He told the two men: “This was the most hare-brained enterprises I have ever come across here. I fail to see how they thought they were going to get away with this so close to so many dwellings.

“It involved an element of planning and premeditation. The fact that they were asked by someone to do this and were paid for it surely should have alerted them that it was unlawful.”

When Dusan’s interpreter explained to him that he was free to leave, Dusan said: “Thank you judge.”

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