Brother assaults brother over land dispute

A Westmeath man in his 60s has been convicted of assaulting his brother in a long-running dispute over land.

Tullamore District Court heard that Edward Flynn struck his brother Joe in the face and kicked him on the ground outside a pub in Kilbeggan on September 11 2005. His injuries were not serious.

Judge Gerard Haughton said it is high time, if the two men are still joint owners of the land where they live at Demesne, Kilbeggan, that they split it, partition it and go their separate ways.

Otherwise, he said they would end up with legal bills of greater value than the farm itself.

Mr Joe Flynn told the court he was in McCormack’s pub on the morning in question when his brother called him out and proceeded to assault him by hitting him once in the face.

When he fell to the ground, he was kicked a number of times by his brother Edward, who denied the incident took place at all. He said he was too weak to assault anyone because of a medical condition that required him to give two pints of blood every fortnight.

When the incident was reported to Garda O’Keeffe, there was no evidence of any injuries to Joe Flynn’s face.

Mr Flynn told the court there had been no need for him to show injuries on his torso to the Garda and no medical reports were presented to the court. He said he had visited his doctor the following day and was referred to A&E.

The court heard that there had been an incident the night before where Mr Edward Flynn had been flashed down by his son near his home as he returned from the airport with his daughter.

His wife was in the car and had been forced to flee her home because someone had come banging on the doors and kicking windows while she was alone there.

Judge Gerard Haughton said that if the case had come down to evidence given only by the two brothers he would have dismissed the case, saying neither was reliable.

He said that Edward Flynn had held his brother responsible for the incident the night before, even though it wasn’t him who had been banging on the door. He said it may have been someone visiting him, but it wasn’t Joe Flynn.

The judge said there was no doubt Edward Flynn had been seeking explanations and justifications, but not revenge.

He convicted Mr Flynn on the basis of evidence given by a third party, Noel Moran, whose evidence he described as “reasonably accurate”. Mr Moran had been outside his betting office and witnessed the incident.

He said Joe Flynn had “quite a lot of drink in him” at the time. He had been hit “very hard” and was physically weaker than his brother.

Judge Haughton said he wished to make it clear that despite a number of allegations made about Mr Moran during Edward Flynn’s evidence, his character remained intact.

The case was stopped a number of times by the judge who at one point threatened Edward Flynn with contempt of court because of his attempts to ‘besmirch other people’s characters’.

He refused to apply the Probation Act to Edward Flynn, pointing out that he had made “every attempt possible to assassinate the character of everyone else involved in the case”.

He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €200 witness expenses for Mr Moran who had appeared in court on a number of occasions, though for various reasons the case had not been heard. 


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