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Woman cleared of threatening to kill relatives

A woman has been acquitted of threatening to kill members of her family after a judge directed that there was insufficient evidence to show that the threats would be carried out.

Donna Whitehouse (21), of Dublin Street, Dundalk, Co Louth, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to three people, including an uncle and aunt, at Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on November 16, 2009.

During the one-day trial the jury heard evidence from those Ms Whitehouse was alleged to have threatened, but Judge Donagh McDonagh concluded there was no evidence that she had intended to follow through on the threats and that this was necessary for any conviction.

He said that there was no discernible evidence that Ms Whitehouse intended that the injured parties should believe the threat would be carried out.

Judge McDonagh said: "There is insufficient evidence to enable that inference to be drawn. The correct course of action on the three counts remaining is to enter verdicts of not guilty. The accused is found not guilty by direction of the trial judge."

Ms Whitehouse's uncle, Thomas Whitehouse, had given evidence earlier that Ms Whitehouse had made a gun-shaped gesture with her fingers towards him at Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, on November 16.

Conor Devally, defending, put it to Mr Whitehouse that he had told his client that she was going to end up in Mountjoy prison and that she hadn't made the gun-shaped gesture but Mr Whitehouse denied this.

Martina Whitehouse, an aunt of Donna Whitehouse, told the court that she was with a friend, Paula Hoey, when she met her niece on November 16. She alleged her niece then made threats against the two women.

Mr Devally said that when gardai arrested Donna Whitehouse, she denied that she had made any of the threats.

The judge said: "All parties should go back to behaving like rational human beings."

Irish Independent