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Judge calls out ‘tall tale’ in fishing case


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Judge David Waters has said a man cynically gave a false name to Inland Fisheries Officers – and invented an accompanying ‘tall tale’ – to avoid the consequences of an offence at or near Barfinnihy Lake.

Gerry O’Riordan (Sunnyside, Countess Road, Killarney), otherwise known as ‘John Twomey’, was before Kenmare District Court last Friday charged with using or attempting to use sweetcorn in angling for brown trout; having sweetcorn in his possession; obstructing or impeding an Inland Fisheries Ireland inspector; and entering several fishery, without authorisation, for the purpose of or under the pretence of killing or taking fish on August 1, 2020.

The court heard that Mr O’Riordan gave his name as John Twomey to officers on that date, but they established that his name was Gerry O’Riordan on investigating the matter. Mr O’Riordan said he never met the officers until March 2021 and that the man they had spoken to in August was, in fact, John Twomey – whom he has since been unable to make contact with.

The court heard that John Twomey drove Mr O’Riordan’s car to a location near Barfinnihy Lake on August 1. Mr O’Riordan said that he went running and left his keys with Mr Twomey, who went fishing. Mr O’Riordan said he previously met Mr Twomey on a couple of occasions in Killarney “at the lake” but that the man was no longer living at the address he has for him, and that he is not returning his phone calls.

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Inland Fisheries Officers met Mr O’Riordan outside Macroom District Court on March 3. The court heard that Mr O’Riordan was asked if his name was John Twomey, to which he replied he wasn’t. They then asked him if he was Gerry O’Riordan, which he confirmed. They said Mr O’Riordan had approached them to ask “what the procedure here was”. Mr O’Riordan claims the men had in fact approached him and asked him if he was a guard.

Mr O’Riordan was in court on Friday, and he was identified by an inspector as the man spoken to on August 1.

“Mr O’Riordan would say the first time he met you [the inspectors] was on March 3,” defence solicitor Tim O’Leary said. “Whoever you spoke to on August 1 is not the same person.”

Mr O’Riordan said he never told someone his name was John Twomey, that he has no relation called John Twomey, and is not otherwise known by that name.

He said he “got no chance” to ask the Fisheries Officers why they wanted to talk to him in Macroom but later enquired through a solicitor.

“I put it to you that this is a tall story,” prosecution solicitor Vincent Coakley said to Mr O’Riordan. “You’re the same person fisheries officers met on August 1.”

Judge Waters agreed with Mr Coakley’s description of Mr O’Riordan’s defence as a “tall story” and convicted him of all four charges. In noting that he has no previous convictions but had fought this matter, he fined him €500 for using sweetcorn, with possession of same taken into consideration; fined him €750 for obstruction; and €400 for entering a fishery. Recognisance has been set in the event of an appeal.