A FARMER told a sitting of Macroom District Court that he was in fear for his life during a confrontation with his neighbour in Rylane.
Cornelius Buckley, of Glounaglough, Rylane was before Judge James McNulty to answer three charges of assault and one of threatening behaviour against his neighbour Martin Kelleher, and members of the Kelleher family, on Saturday, June 24th 2017.
Martin Kelleher told the court that Cornelius Buckley had grabbed him by the throat and arm, that Buckley had struck his youngest son, Denis, and had pushed his eldest son Daniel following an argument about a jeep that was parked in front of a double gate leading to a field owned by the Kellehers.
‘He was always parking his jeep in front of the gate,’ Martin Kelleher said. ‘We were going to dose some cattle and when I saw the jeep in front of the gate again, I got out to get him to move it.’
Mr Kelleher said that he asked Mr Buckley’s son, Patrick, to get the jeep moved and then returned to the driver’s seat of his car where he was joined by his son Denis who sat in the passenger seat.
Mr Kelleher told the court that Mr Buckley then appeared driving a JCB and that he swung the bucket of the digger very close to his car.
He then said that Mr Buckley left the cab of the JCB and grabbed him by the throat and the arm before leaning across and striking Denis in the face.
Mr Kelleher’s eldest son Daniel then arrived and tried to calm Mr Buckley down who, Mr Kelleher, said was ‘roaring and shouting’, before he put his hands to Daniel’s face and pushed him.
Both Daniel and Denis Kelleher, who also gave evidence, confirmed the account given by their father.
Mr Kelleher’s wife Anne told the court that she knew her husband would stop when she saw that Cornelius Buckley’s jeep was parked in front of the gates.
‘All four of us were going to dose some cattle in our yard, which is about half a mile from house,’ Mrs Kelleher said. ‘I drove up the roadway with my sons in the Land Rover, when we got to the yard I could see that Martin had stopped at the Buckley’s yard so Denis decided to go back. This is not the first time that the gate has been blocked by the jeep.
‘Suddenly, I heard all the shouting and Daniel also went back up the road.
I jumped into the Land Rover and drove through the fields back to the double gate and could see and hear what was going on. All I could think of doing was to blow the horn for a long time.’
On taking the witness stand, Cornelius Buckley told Judge McNulty that he did not threaten Martin Kelleher with the bucket of the JCB.
‘He [Martin Kelleher] was blocking the entrance to my yard,’ Cornelius Buckley said. ‘I was moving a load of rubble and had to manoeuvre to try and get around him. I got out of the cab, opened the door of his car and told him to move and he ignored me.’
Mr Buckley denied grabbing Martin Kelleher by the throat or striking his son Denis, or having any physical contact with any of the Kelleher family, including Daniel. He said that he did raise his voice and agreed that he was shouting.
He also told the court that he had parked his jeep at the gateway because he was having concrete spread in his yard and agreed that he would park his jeep there ‘the odd time’ on occasion.
In conclusion, Judge McNulty said that he considered the evidence given by the Kelleher family to be credible and that Cornelius Buckley had ‘not been entirely truthful’ and that there is a case to answer.
Judge McNulty convicted Cornelius Buckley on all four counts and fined him €2,500 for the assaults on Martin, Denis and Daniel Kelleher and €1,000 for threatening behaviour.
Barrister Donal O’Sullivan, acting on behalf of Cornelius Buckley, said that his client would be appealing the decision to the Circuit Court.