Pair found guilty in their absence

Judge Mary Devins found that the prosecution had proven the case against two men who were charged in their absence at Castlebar District Court this week arising from an incident at the funeral of an infant in Claremorris.

Both Eddie Sweeney with an address at 34 Clareville, Ballindine Rd, Claremorris, and Thomas Sweeney with an address at 61 Churchview, Ballinrobe, failed to appear in court on Tuesday. Their solicitor Ms Cathy McDarby told the court she had received a text message from one of the men to say that they were on the way to the court from Sligo when the car they were travelling in was confiscated by the Gardai.

Garda Joe Newell told the court that he was on traffic duty in Claremorris on January 4 2013 at 3pm at the graveyard as the funeral was taking place of the infant daughter of Michael Sweeney (Dublin ). He said he was standing on the road and saw a blue car being driven by Thomas Sweeney, with Eddie Sweeney sitting in the passenger seat, approach from the Balla side of the town. He said as the car passed the funeral procession he heard shouting from the car. He got in the patrol car and followed the blue car, when he caught up with it the blue car had already pulled in at the side of the road. He said he heard shouting from the two men who were standing outside the car towards the funeral procession. He said that he had suspected the two men had caused a breach of the public order act. He went over and spoke to both men and on searching the car he found a wheel brace on the floor of the front passenger seat. He said neither of the men could give an explanation as to why it was there and both men were arrested.

Under cross examination from Ms McDarby, Garda Newell said that at no time did he see Eddie Sweeney hold the wheel brace in his hand on the day in question.

The court heard evidence from five different witnesses for the prosecution, all members of the funeral procession, who said that both Eddie Sweeney and Thomas Sweeney had threatened them, and that Eddie Sweeney waved a wheel brace at them while he threatened them. Ms McDarby asked a number of the witnesses whether they actually saw the wheel brace in her client’s hands, or said her client had it after they saw it when Gardai searched the car. None of the witnesses agreed with Ms McDarby’s assertion.

Judge Devins found that the prosecution had proved the case and found Eddie Sweeney guilty of possession of a weapon with intent to cause injury and Thomas Sweeney of threatening and abusive behaviour and issued a bench warrent for their arrest at Tuesday’s sitting.

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