A 67-year-old Portlaoise man has been ordered to pay compensation after assaulting a man in a bookmaker’s in a dispute over alleged rent arrears.
Colm Dunne, Togher, Portlaoise, committed the assault against Mr Liam Kavanagh, in Paddy Power, Main Street, Portlaoise, on October 1, 2012.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that an altercation took place in the bookmaker’s and Mr Kavanagh at first ignored Dunne, but when Mr Kavanagh turned his back Dunne grabbed him and tried to pull him to the ground. Dunne also tried to punch him, but there were no injuries sustained.
Dunne has 32 previous convictions, all for theft.
When the case was first heard before Christmas, the district court was told that Mr Kavanagh had bought a house from Dunne, but an agreement was alleged to be in place permitting Dunne to live in the house rent-free.
Judge Catherine Staines then adjourned the case and said she wanted to hear a positive report that matters were being resolved when the case returned.
When Dunne appeared back before last week’s court, defence, Mr Frank Taaffe said that the assault has taken place the same week his client had received a letter from Mr Kavanagh over alleged rent arrears.
Mr Taaffe said that in 2006, Dunne had experienced financial difficulties and sold his house to Mr Kavanagh, but had reserved right of residence. Some years later Mr Kavanagh’s building company went bust and so he asked Dunne for rent, which Dunne refused.
Mr Taaffe said that a subsequent ruling had found in favour of Mr Kavanagh, to the amount of €19,000.
“(Dunne) accepts the minor assault on the day,” said Mr Taaffe, describing it as “a bit of pulling” when Dunne was inebriated.
Solicitor for Mr Kavanagh said his client was disputing the right of residence. He said that proposals had been made to Dunne, but Mr Kavanagh had heard nothing back.
Mr Taaffe described Mr Kavanagh’s proposal as absolute nonsense under the circumstances, as he was looking for Dunne to give up his right of residence and pay €19,000.
In relation to his client’s past convictions for theft, Mr Taaffe said that money had accidentally been transferred to Dunne’s account and Dunne had contacted the bank, but the bank had informed him that they did not make mistakes. As a result, Dunne went off and spent some of the money.
Judge Staines ordered Dunne to pay €500 by April 3. If paid, she said she would impose a suspended sentence.