‘Strange’ rent-free deal led to assault in bookmaker’s

Mr Philip Meagher, Portlaoise solicitor.

Mr Philip Meagher, Portlaoise solicitor.

The “strange arrangement” of a 67-year-old Portlaoise man who sold his house to a 45-year-old man on condition he be allowed to remain in the house rent-free resulted in the older man appearing on an assault charge at last week’s district court.

Colm Dunne, of Togher, Portlaoise, committed the assault in Paddy Power, Main Street, Portlaoise, on October 1, 2012.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that a verbal altercation occured in the bookmaker’s and when the injured party turned his back, Dunne grabbed him by the neck and attempted to pull him down.

Insp Farrelly said that the injured party, Mr Liam Kavanagh told gardaí Dunne was “squatting” in his house and had come into the bookmaker’s drunk on the day of the offence.

Dunne has 32 previous convictions, all for theft.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that Dunne had sold his house to Mr Kavanagh and as part of the “strange arrangement” it had been agreed that Dunne would remain in the property, but not as a paying tenant.

There were issues concerning his being in the house and on the day, “the matter escalted in a matter of seconds and finished in a matter of seconds”.

Mr Liam Kavanagh took the witness box to give evidence that he had “bailed this man out” and Dunne was supposed to have left the house within six months.

“He was a male nurse for my father, he went through a rough patch and I bailed him out,” said Mr Kavanagh. “I made an awful mistake.”

Mr Kavanagh also alleged that Dunne had transfered a company car into his own name. He said civil court proceedings are ongoing.

“The assault was just the final straw,” Mr Kavanagh said.

Mr Meagher said that his client had “a serious difficulty with Mr Kavanagh’s version of reality”. He said that the house had been bought at a value “grossly underestimated” and it had been written into the contract that Dunne would be allowed to stay. Mr Meagher said that Mr Kavanagh had signed the contract, and the car had been part of the deal.

The matter was put back to February 6, 2014. Judge Catherine Staines said that all these matters had led to the assault and ruled that she wanted to hear a positive report that matters were being resolved when the case returned.




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