A DISTRICT Court Judge has described a situation in Coolmountain as ‘a family at war’ when hearing two assault cases – one involving an iron bar.
Judge James McNulty made the comment at Clonakilty Court where Clay Cracknell of Coolmountain West, Dunmanway was charged with assault causing harm to Timothy Heaton of Coolmountain West, Dunmanway, using an iron bar. Mr Heaton was in turn charged with assaulting Mr Cracknell.
Gda Martin Hanley said that on September 11th he investigated an allegation of assault made by Mr Heaton, who told him he was assaulted by Mr Cracknell and suffered multiple bruising to his upper body and a bite mark.
Solicitor for Mr Cracknell, Eamonn Fleming, said Cracknell lives next to Mr Heaton who had been in a relationship with Cracknell’s sister.
‘They had a child but the relationship broke down, but Mr Heaton still lives in a house on my client’s property,’ said Mr Fleming.
Mr Cracknell pleaded guilty and admited calling to Mr Heaton’s house on August 8th and striking him with an iron bar ‘two or three times’.
He said they fell to the ground and he punched him a few times and that Mr Heaton grabbed a gas bottle and hit him. Mr Heaton’s father broke it up eventually.
Mr Heaton said the incident happened while his son was there and his parents were visiting him. He denied picking up a gas bottle and said he managed to pin down Mr Cracknell, who was ‘biting him on his knees’ before his dad pulled him off him.
Judge McNulty said there was a ‘significant degree of self-defence and provocation’ involved and he gave Mr Heaton a conditional discharge of two years. He directed that he be of good behaviour to all citizens and ‘specifically to Clay Cracknell and his father Simon’. He convicted Mr Cracknell of assault causing harm and sentenced him to six months’ jail but suspended it for two years.
‘It was a family at war or a bunch of people who were once a family but are not any more,’ said Judge McNulty.
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