A DISTRICT court judge said that a former Council worker who shouted obscenities at a woman out walking her dogs ‘may not qualify as one of the lovely people of West Cork’ due to his ‘bad attitude’ to women.
Judge James McNulty made the comment when dealing with the case of John Crowley at Clonakilty District Court last week.
The 67-year-old, with an address at Rock Savage, Ballinglanna, Clonakilty, who has two previous convictions for the harassment of women, denied careless driving and using or engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour at Ballinglanna in Clonakilty last year.
Bláthnaid Breslin told the court that on May 7th last she took her dogs for a walk by the beach near Ballinglanna and said she saw the defendant approaching in his car and she stopped.
‘I then noticed that he had driven up the road and had turned around in my direction and I was worried as the dogs were not on a leash.
‘As he approached with his headlights on, I put my hand out and he pulled up beside me,’ said Ms Breslin.
‘He was shouting at me as he was trying to scroll down the window. He called me a ‘f***ing c***’ and said ‘I will kill you f***ing c***’.’
She said her smaller dog had gone in front of his car and she went around and picked him up and walked on as she was not looking for any confrontation. ‘I went onto the beach and some people there came over to me to see was I alright,’ she recalled.
She said the incident lasted just seconds and it was only after that she felt ‘worried and threatened.’
Solicitor Conrad Murphy said his client maintains that he told her ‘get your f***ing dogs off the road’ but Ms Breslin disputed this.
‘I said to him he has to slow down and I didn’t raise my voice at all,’ she said.
The court heard that there had been a previous incident where the defendant had knocked down one of Ms Breslin’s dogs, but she said this was all dealt with amicably and she did not blame him for it.
Mr Murphy said his client had been upset about killing that dog and he was angry then when he saw her dogs were off-lead on a public road again.
Mr Crowley said he was coming from Barryroe Co-op that day and saw Ms Breslin on the road with her dogs.
‘I hit one of her dogs previously and it upset me, but I did not call her a ‘f***ing c***. I told her to keep the dogs off the road. I was in bad form. She said nothing back,’ said Mr Crowley.
Insp Debra Marsh asked him why he revved his engine when he saw Ms Breslin on the road. He said he was angry, turned the car around to tell her to keep her dogs off the road.
Judge McNulty said he was struck by how fair Ms Breslin was in her evidence against the defendant and how she put his mind at ease when he knocked down her dog a year previously.
‘It’s just like a typical West Cork case involving lovely people,’ said the judge.
He said there was insufficient evidence to prove Mr Crowley was guilty of careless driving, but he was convicting him on the public order charge as the court had no doubt he spoke to her in a vulgar manner.
‘The language he used was abusive and insulting. He could have easily caused a breach of the peace, while Ms Breslin’s evidence was true and accurate.’
‘Women don’t forget remarks like that, and Mr Crowley is minimising it.’
The court heard he has five previous convictions, including two for the harassment of women, with the most recent conviction dating to 2006 for making nuisance phone calls and sending texts to a woman.
‘He may not qualify as one of the lovely people of West Cork, as he has a bad attitude to women,’ said Judge McNulty.
He added that this type of abuse to a neighbour is alarming, requesting a probation report on Mr Crowley before the court comes to a decision on penalty.
Judge McNulty also asked the probation officer to carry out an assessment on the accused to see if he is suitable for community service. He adjourned the matter to May 5th.
When asked by the judge if he had anything to say to Ms Breslin, Mr Crowley said he did not.