A MAN with 24 grandchildren, and his 34-year-old son, who were convicted of burglary and trespass at a farm in Kilbrittain last year, have been advised by a district court judge not to enter private property in the future and to avoid the possibility of getting shot.
William O’Reilly Sr (57) of 52 Willow Bank Drive, Fairhill, Cork denied a charge of burglary at Clonakilty District Court last week, while his son William O’Reilly Jr, also of the same address, denied trespassing at the farm on September 23rd last. They claimed they were only there to buy scrap and old batteries.
William O’Driscoll told the court that that he and his son came across a red van in their farmyard after they returned from their dinner that day, which they didn’t recognise.
There was no one in the van or near it but they saw a man coming out of a shed.
‘We tried to question him as to why he was trespassing on our property when we saw a second man coming from a gate.
‘I told them I was ringing the gardaí and blocked their van with my own vehicle,’ said Mr O’Driscoll.
The court heard that no one lives on the farm but that the O’Driscoll’s farm there and would have equipment there also. Defence solicitor Flor Murphy queried if there were signs on the farm to state that it was private property and said his clients were only there to buy old batteries and scrap. However, Mr O’Driscoll said he never thought he needed signs at his farm.
Sgt Kevin Heffernan of Kinsale Garda Station said that he arrested the pair of men that afternoon and they answered ‘no comment’ to all his questions when interviewed at the station.
Mr O’Reilly Sr – who denied the charge of burglary – told the court that they were looking for scrap when they entered the farmyard and he was shouting when he stuck his head into the shed to see if anyone was there.
He added that it was a ‘dirty old habit’ of his of sticking his head into a place.
William O’Reilly Jr, said they were going in and out of places looking for scrap and old batteries and that they didn’t intend any harm to Mr O’Driscoll.
The court heard that Mr O’Reilly Sr has 29 previous convictions including the possession of stolen goods, while Mr O’Reilly Jr has 32 previous convictions including several for theft.
The court heard that Mr O’Reilly Sr has 10 children and 24 grandchildren. Mr Murphy said his clients haven’t been back to West Cork since and won’t be returning.
Judge Roberts sentenced to Mr O’Reilly Sr to six months in prison on the burglary charge but suspended it for two years and he also disqualified him from driving for three months.
Mr O’Reilly Jr was sentenced to four months in prison which were also suspended for two years.
‘I strongly advise you don’t go onto private property and, worse of all, get shot,’ said Judge Roberts.