Driving incident sparked further row

A man who was accused of verbally attacking a pedestrian who complained about an elderly man’s driving, has had his case dismissed at Mullingar District Court.

Judge Seamus Hughes said he had a doubt in the case against Paschal Coyle, Ballindurrow, Multyfarnham but said the alleged victim in the case had been right in drawing attention to the driving incident.

Andrew Jenkins had been walking in Multyfarnham village when a car, not driven by Coyle, drove by at high speed, forcing him off the path and into the wall near the graveyard. Mr Jenkins followed the driver to a nearby pub where he asked if he could talk to him.

However, he realised the driver was drunk and elderly and he was told to “F*** off” and call the gardaí.

As Mr Jenkins was going home after visiting the Garda station, he alleged that Coyle, whom he didn’t know but who had been in the pub, made a comment as he passed him, to the effect of “You’ve little to be doing with your time”.

Mr Jenkins said he followed Coyle, whom he alleged then struck him in the eye. He said he then defended himself and struck Coyle a number of times.

Under cross examination Mr Jenkins told the court that he walked away from the pub when he realised the driver was around 80 years old.

However, he had asked the driver if he had realised what he had done and pointed out that it could just as easily have been a child on the footpath, walking home from school. There were no other witnesses in the case and Judge Hughes pointed out that if Coyle gave opposing evidence in the witness box, he would have a doubt.

Coyle told the court that he didn’t know Mr Jenkins but when he saw him outside the pub afterwards he had told him “that was no way to treat an old man”.

He said Mr Jenkins followed him and asked him to repeat what he had said, but he decided the best thing to do was go home as Mr Jenkins was bigger and younger than him.

He denied that he had struck the first blow and Judge Hughes said he had a doubt in the case and would dismiss it because there were two separate versions of events.

He did however say that Mr Jenkins had done the right thing by being a “responsible, public-minded citizen” who remonstrated with the driver.

“It’s a pity the other events followed,” he concluded.

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