A festering family feud led to a young Ballybane man striking his uncle’s wife with a pool cue in a local pub, causing an injury to the forehead which required seven stitches, the Galway District Court heard this week.
After pleading guilty to the assault of Desmond Mahon and of assaulting Catherine Mahon causing her harm, as well as being intoxicated in a public place, Alan King (26 ) with an address at 28 Castlepark, Ballybane, was convicted and sentenced to a total of 11 months in jail which was then suspended for two years with conditions.
The court heard that on March 6 this year gardai had been on patrol at Ballybane Shopping Centre at around 8pm when they observed the defendant and two other males drinking in the car park. Despite being directed to leave the area, King was then later observed chasing a man, later identified as Desmond Mahon, into the shopping centre and shouting, “You’re dead”, before fleeing the area. A few minutes later, Mr Mahon made a complaint stating that he and his wife, Catherine, had been assaulted earlier that day in The Lantern Bar.
Inspector Ernie White further explained that Mr Mahon told gardai he had been drinking in the company of his wife in the local pub when King approached them while brandishing a pool cue. King struck out, hitting Catherine Mahon in the head, and punching Desmond Mahon in the face. The court heard that as a result of the attack Mrs Mahon received a laceration to the forehead which required seven stitches. The inspector added that King has previous convictions for drink driving, robbery for which he received a three-year sentence suspended for three years in April 2008, as well as a public order and assault causing harm conviction in September 2007.
Catherine Mahon told Judge Fahy that the defendant is her husband’s nephew and that there had been a family falling out over allegations of interference with a will. She said that due to her injury she was unable to work for three weeks. Mr Mahon later told the court that he had been punched in the face and knocked to the ground.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client apologises for the incident, which was described as “outrageous”. He further acknowledged that there is a family feud which has been made worse by a number of incidents and allegations between different parties. He explained that King had been in the pub to watch a football match and had consumed a huge amount of alcohol. Mr MacLynn said that it was Mr Mahon, not his wife, that King wanted to go after.
“It’s not acceptable to go after anyone with a pool cue,” replied Judge Mary Fahy to which Mr MacLynn said that King “just snapped”, that he has many difficulties which have been compounded by the death of a brother in tragic circumstances in 2006, as well as alcohol, drug, and gambling problems.
After careful consideration and issuing a warning that there will be no more chances, Judge Fahy convicted King of assault and assault causing harm and imposed a total sentence of 11 months suspended for a period of two years on condition that he enter into a bond to be of good behaviour, stay away from The Lantern Bar, and have no contact with the injured parties.
In an unrelated matter King also pleaded guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour and obstruction at Eyre Square on September 17, 2010. Inspector White told the court that at 3.30am Garda Sheena Gill had been waiting for an ambulance in relation to a separate incident when the defendant started fighting with others. When Garda Gill attempted to restrain the defendant he “caught her by the neck”. The inspector added that King was eventually restrained with the help of a member of the public.
“This is very serious as well, he could be looking at a custodial sentence,” warned Judge Fahy, who then adjourned the matter to March 15 next year to allow time for the preparation of a garda behaviour report.