A Birr man has been sent forward to the circuit court after he appeared at last week’s district court sitting in Portlaoise charged with demanding money with menaces from his former employer.
Judge Catherine Staines refused jurisdiction in the case of Patrick O’Meara, with an address listed at 8 New Road, Birr, as she deemed the offence too serious for summary disposal in the district court.
The court heard that O’Meara had made threats against his former employer’s family.
Evidence was given by Garda Brian Cunningham, who arrested and charged O’Meara the day before the court sitting (December 18).
Garda Cunningham explained that O’Meara had a grievance with his former employee and felt he was owed money.
He took a civil action against the man, which found in favour of the employer.
O’Meara then sent text messages to his employer demanding money. Garda Cunningham said these messages were quite menacing, and had put the man in considerable fear for himself and for his family.
One of the texts read: “Remember you can’t watch them all day.”
The injured party was quite fearful when he received this text, and was fearful for his children. The man has children from ages six down.
Garda Cunningham said the man was very upset and had made a four-page statement to the gardaí.
“He considered the threats to be real,” said Garda Cunningham.
“I’m refusing jurisdiction,” said Judge Staines. “It’s too serious to threaten someone’s family and children.”
It will take six weeks for a book of evidence to be ready. The matter has now gone back to February 26, 2014, at Tullamore District Court.
Mr Declan Breen is defending O’Meara, and has been granted legal aid.
O’Meara is to have no contact with the injured party or his family.