A PORTARLINGTON man convicted of assaulting his sister-in-law allegedly threatened to kill the woman before pelting her with rubble, following what was described as “a history of aggression and intimidation”.
At last week’s court, 60-year-old Patrick Behan, with an address listed at Tierhogar, Portarlington, was charged with assault at Tierhogar on December 27 last year.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that the gardaí were called to a dispute between the defendant and his sister-in-law involving a right of way between their two properties. The inspector said that Behan pushed the woman to the ground, but since then the issue has been settled.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said his client was anxious to finalise the matter and the considerable dispute between the parties had now been resolved, as a wall had been built which would “resolve the matter evermore”.
Mr Meagher said his client and the injured party had lived beside each other for 22 years and there had been no difficulties before or since this incident. On the day, Behan “over reacted” and “reacted poorly”, and he now regrets his actions and apologises.
“He is family man and what happened was shameful,” admitted Mr Meagher, who told Judge Catherine Staines that his client had brought money to court, either for compensation or a charitable donation.
However, the injured party, Ms Behan was present in court and she informed the judge that the description of the assault as given by Inspector Harrington was “very benign” compared to what actually happened.
Ms Behan said she had been subjected to “a history of aggression and intimidation”, following an argument between the two Behan brothers. She told the court that the assault on December 27 had nothing to do with the right of way dispute.
Ms Behan alleged that the defendant had threatened to kill her and there were two other men present with him, all of whom assaulted her.
“He threatened to kill me. He asked me what I was still doing there and said, ‘This is ours, f**k off, I’ll f**king kill you, you f**king bitch,” said Ms Behan. “Three of them were circling me.”
Ms Behan said that her brother-in-law then went into a shed and picked up lumps of rubble, which he threw at her. She said he also told the two men with him to throw rubble at her, too.
“It’s ruined my being able to live there, it’s not possible for me to live there, I’ll be forced to sell up and leave,” Ms Behan said.
Ms Behan alleged that workmen on her property had also been intimidated, all of which she had reported to the Portarlington gardaí. Ms Behan rejected the offer of compensation, saying that she was still waiting on costs and damages of €1,500 from the defendant on another court matter.
Judge Staines described it as a serious charge of assault and put the matter back to April 4 next year, to see whether Behan complies with the previous court order. The judge also ordered a probation report.
Behan was released on bail of €100, on condition that he have no contact with the injured party.