A DISTRICT Court Judge told a 48-year-old man that he had a right to mind his own business when he approached a young man waiting for a lift outside Dunmanway graveyard.
Judge James McNulty made the comment at Clonakilty District Court when dealing with Shane O’Neill of Shanacashel, Kilmichael, who denied charges of careless driving and using and engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
Judge McNulty said the incident was ‘most upsetting for a young man not yet an adult’, while Insp Joanne O’Brien said the defendant tried to get the then 17-year-old juvenile into his car.
Jack Lynch (18) said he was outside the graveyard in Dunmanway waiting to get a spin from his friends for training on March 16th last.
He said he noticed a black Audi parked in the church yard and then it came out of the gates and was going back and forth.
‘The driver asked what I was doing there and accused me of stealing from the church. He then asked to look into my gear bag and asked me did I steal the football boots and gum shields and asked me my name,’ said Mr Lynch.
‘He said I was lying and told me to get into his car as he was going to drive me to the garda station. He was shouting and roaring, as well as cursing and swearing and I was shaking and actually frightened.
‘When I got into my friend’s car he started banging on the window. We drove up about 50 yards and because the boot was opened we stopped and one of my friends got out and shut it and then the man pulled across us in his car.’
The defendant then got back into his car and drove up to the nearest junction, did a U-turn and drove back at speed in the direction of the town centre.
Defence solicitor Ray Hennessy said the defendant had seen Mr Lynch urinating in the churchyard, but Mr Lynch denied this.
Three other young males who were in the car also gave evidence and one of them told the court that their friend Jack was ‘fairly flustered’ when he got into the car.
Mr O’Neill said he could see ‘a light moving around’ and so he drove into the graveyard.
‘I saw a tall male with a hoodie urinating there. I asked him why he was pissing there and he gave me a tirade of abuse. He had a heavy bag and I asked what was in it and he showed me,’ said Mr O’Neill.
‘Then a car came at high speed with three or four people in it. I got into my car and the young man got into this car and I said “this is crazy” and I got hit across the chest with what I thought was a stone. I could see them stopping ahead and I drove on and passed them so I could get the car reg.’
Judge McNulty convicted him on both charges. O’Neill has 19 previous convictions, including assault causing harm, assaulting gardaí, theft, dangerous driving and other public order offences.
He sentenced him to 60 days in prison on the public order charge and 60 days on the careless driving charge, with both to run concurrently. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.