Character references on two Laois men charged with an incident in which gardaí were badly injured after two patrol cars were rammed by a stolen jeep have been described as “blatantly inaccurate” by Judge Keenan Johnson.
At this morning’s (Tuesday, June 27) circuit court, Mr John Hargroves gave evidence that he had employed William McInerney (37), Newline Close, Mountrath, and Thomas McInerney (40), Twomey Park, Mountmellick, with his company, Silvercrete Construction Ltd, back in 2007.
Both McInerneys have pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, namely a trailer, and the unauthorised taking of an MPV, at Cloncourse, Mountrath, on July 12, 2016.
In addition, Thomas McInerney has pleaded to guilty to two further counts of having possession of stolen property, and William McInerney has pleaded guilty to one further count of the same.
Testimonies to the court have been provided on behalf of the two men by Mr Hargroves, who claimed that the two had worked for Silvercrete Construction in 2007. The Laois company was dissolved in 2015.
However, both men told the probation services that they had never worked and had no employment history.
Judge Johnson said Mr Hargrove’s testimonies flew in the face of the probation reports.
Mr Hargroves was asked to read into the record his testimonies on the two accused.
He described William McInerney as a diligent worker, punctual and reliable, and said that the accused was eager to learn and a natural at all tasks.
In relation to Thomas McInerney, Mr Hargroves described him as a likeable character with natural leadership qualities. He said the accused was eager to learn and was a natural at all tasks.
The witness signed the testimonies ‘John Hargroves, managing director of Silvercrete Construction’.
“This is the company that doesn’t exist any longer?” remarked Judge Johnson.
The witness admitted that he should have signed the document in a personal capacity instead.
Mr Hargroves went on to say that he didn’t know if the accused had done construction work before, but when he showed them how to do something they would do it back, even though they couldn’t use a measuring tape.
In response to questioning from State prosecutor Mr Will Fennelly, Mr Hargroves said he didn’t know if the accused had any training or experience, but he believed they’d had some training.
“They’re carpenters who can’t read a measuring tape?” asked Mr Fennelly.
“They put marks on the tape; I thought it was unusual,” replied Mr Hargroves, going on to say that he had paid his other employees four times what he paid the two accused.
“So you were paying them on the cheap?” said Judge Johnson.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Johnson said he was satisfied that the testimonies created a totally inaccurate picture.
“They’re blatantly inaccurate,” said the judge.
He said a clear message had to go out, that if people are prepared to give testimony it has to be accurate and they have to stand over it.
The matter has now been adjourned to this Thursday, June 29, for sentencing.
A third accused, Gerard McInerney (38), Moanbaun Close, Mountrath, has pleaded guilty to possession of the stolen trailer, the unauthorised taking of an MPV, and a further count of having possession of stolen property.