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Beara fisherman is convicted for threat to kill made in ‘drink talk’

March 16th, 2023 5:45 PM

Beara fisherman is convicted for threat to kill made in ‘drink talk’ Image

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A FISHERMAN from Castletownbere is to appeal a district court conviction for making a threat to kill, or cause serious harm, during a dispute about netting.

Barrister Andrea Gilligan, instructed by Colette McCarthy solicitor, indicated at Bantry District Court that their client, Timothy Murphy (65) of Derrymihan West, Castletownbere, will be appealing the conviction and €2,000 fine to the circuit court.

Judge James McNulty had convicted Murphy of making a threat to kill or cause Grev Williams serious harm at Gour, Castletownbere, on May 22nd 2021.

One of the investigation officers, Gda Dave Fenton, said Grev Williams played for him a recording of an abusive telephone call made by Timothy Murphy.

Gda Fenton said Timothy Murphy made a counter allegation that Grev Williams had threatened to ‘blow his head off’ but when the file was sent to the DPP the only charge recommended was the one before the court.

Gda Fenton said David Williams, the son of Grev Williams, complained that netting had been moved and he later found it in ‘one big pile’.

In the witness box, the garda played the recorded message. In it Timothy Murphy alleged that Grev Williams called the navy on him and said: ‘If you have the misfortune of reporting me you will get a one-way ticket, you f***ing c***.’

Sgt Stephen O’Sullivan gave evidence of Timothy Murphy’s voluntary cautioned statement in which he accused Grev Williams of lying about the displacement of the nets and said: ‘I did not touch that man’s gear.’

In the memo, Murphy alleged that Grev Williams threatened to ‘blow the head off me like he does the seals.’ Timothy Murphy said he took that as a threat ‘especially from a man who has a gun’.

When interviewed by gardaí, Grev Williams denied an allegation made by Timothy Murphy that he told the accused ‘you are all retarded f**kers.’

‘That is a lie and abhorrent,’ said the witness for the accused, who also denied the allegation that he shoots seals.

In evidence for the prosecution, Grev Williams said: ‘I didn’t call his family retarded. I would never do that sort of thing.’ The witness also said he was ‘shocked deeply by the venom and nastiness’ of the phone call. ‘He was threatening my life,’ said the witness. ‘It was shocking. It made me nervous. And saying I called the navy is pure fabrication.’

In evidence in his own defence, Timothy Murphy denied tampering with nets owned by David Williams. 

He claimed he was upset by the ‘retarded’ comment and took some brandy and port before making the call to Grev Williams at about 10pm.

In cross-examination by Insp Jason Wallace, Timothy Murphy said: ‘I don’t remember the call and I don’t remember what I said, but I must have because that is my voice.’

The accused’s barrister Andrea Gilligan submitted that the comment made during the phone call did not have the necessary intent to carry out any threat.

‘Intoxication is not a defence,’ she added, ‘but it is the reason the call was made.’

‘The court has no doubt that Timothy Murphy is guilty of the offence,’ said Judge James McNulty, who noted Insp Wallace’s submission that the accused has a previous conviction for criminal damage and a previous conviction for assault.

The judge held that the age of 65 is ‘a bit late for going to jail’ and that the offence was ‘at the lower end’ of the scale.

‘It was drink talk, but he was not incoherent,’ said the judge. ‘We all know what a one-way ticket means. And the attempted justification regarding the retarded claim is rejected as a non-runner.’

The district court ruling is to be appealed.

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