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Son who assaulted his father had resentment of ‘hippy upbringing’

January 17th, 2023 10:30 PM

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A MAN who began smoking cannabis in his early teens in West Cork with ‘some parental endorsement’ came back from the UK and tried to buy a gun so he could shoot his dad, a court recently heard.

The accused pleaded guilty in Skibbereen District Court to assaulting his dad, as well as breaching a safety order.

Sgt Danielle Hegarty of Bantry Garda Station told Judge James McNulty that on October 13th last, the man had assaulted his father by punching him a number of times on the back of his head, leading him to fall, but the injuries were minor and he did not need medical attention.

Sgt Hegarty said the father had secured a safety order against his son on October 26th, and that gardaí then received information that the accused was trying to secure a firearm to attack his dad, who had to get out of his home as a result. A previous court sitting had heard that the accused, who was living in the UK, had entered Ireland on November 9th with plans to buy a firearm and come to West Cork.

The court heard that the accused has 11 previous convictions, including three for the possession of articles that could cause injury, as well as drug possession, the obstruction of gardaí and public order offences. Solicitor Flor Murphy said the details outlined were a ‘fair summary’ and said his client had a troubled upbringing and had got into a lot of trouble around 2014 and served time in prison.

‘He had been living in London and was working in a call centre. He was living in homeless accommodation with support from care workers,’ said Mr Murphy. ‘He then came back here and put his dad in fear and committed the assault. He has been in custody since. He has had huge mental health difficulties over the years but he’s on medication now and that has stabilised him in prison,’ he added.

Mr Murphy added that his client has no record of any conviction in the UK and that he accepts what he did was wrong and apologises to his dad for putting him in fear. He said that the man’s mother will bring him back to London and is willing to assist him and accommodation is available.

‘He also accepts that he cannot be returning to West Cork anytime soon, cause of the fear he caused his dad.’

The court heard that the man’s father declined to make a victim impact statement.

Judge McNulty noted that the man started using cannabis at 12 years old and his dad had a more liberal attitude to his son smoking, compared to his mother, so there was some parental endorsement.

The man told the court that part of his ‘hippy upbringing’ may have caused some resentment that led him to coming back to cause some harm to his dad. ‘The court commends the gardaí for their intelligence work and their timely intervention, which may have saved the man and his dad from much more serious consequences, which were averted thankfully,’ said Judge McNulty. ‘Fortunately for this man, more serious charges have not been preferred and the court expects him to leave the country within seven days.’

He sentenced him to 21 days for the breach of the safety order and deemed that sentence to be served, while he sentenced him to five months’ jail for the assault on his dad, but suspended it for five years.

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