By Gordon Deegan

A 71-year old west Clare man has pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm of a brother-in-law in a dispute concerning an animal.

At Ennis Circuit Court today (Monday, May 9), Flan McNamara pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm of Tom Casey on June 3, 2020 contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act at Carrowreagh West, Cranny, Kilrush.

McNamara of Carrowreagh West, Cranny, Kilrush also faced a separate charge of producing an ash plant capable on inflicting serious injury during the course of a dispute at Carrowreagh West, Cranny, Kilrush on the same date.

Dispute over animal

Counsel for the state, barrister Lorcan Connolly told the court that the plea to the assault causing harm charge is acceptable, and that a nolle prosequi would be entered concerning the second charge, as the state was not proceeding with the charge.

The legal representative stated that the sentencing hearing will proceed on a full facts basis.

In the district court, Sgt. Louis Moloney gave an outline of the state case against McNamara involving what he called an altercation between two men “in their senior years”.

Sgt. Moloney said that Tom Casey went to McNamara’s yard by arrangement on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 to pick up animals from McNamara due to a falling out between the two over another animal.

Sgt. Moloney stated that in the yard, it will be alleged that McNamara assaulted Tom Casey and used an ash plant during the course of the alleged assault.

The sergeant handed in two medical reports and a set of photographs concerning the bruising sustained by Tom Casey as a result of the assault.

Judge’s ruling

After hearing an outline of the case, reading the medical reports and examining the photographs, Judge Patrick Durcan declined jurisdiction and ruled that the case should be heard in the circuit court.

Senior counsel for McNamara, Brian McInerney told the court that he will be making submissions to court at the sentencing hearing on how the case came before the circuit court.

The senior counsel said: “It was a case where there was consent (by the Director of Public Prosecutions) for summary disposal of the case in the district court where the learned district court judge declined jurisdiction.

“I will be making submissions in relation to that,” he added.

Judge Francis Comerford directed that a victim impact statement be prepared for the sentencing hearing and remanded McNamara on bail to appear in court on May 23.

Legal aid was granted to McNamara in the district court after his solicitor, Tara Godfrey said that McNamara “has been through a number of cancer operations and chemotherapy since 2019, and he says that he would now not have the means to fund a circuit court defence”.