A judge has compared a late-night chaotic farmyard scene, in which a father and son confronted gardaí with a pitchfork and a calving jack, to something from the ‘wild west’.
At Kilrush District Court, Judge Mary Larkin described the conduct of Denis Waters (53) and his son, Brian Waters (25), both with an address at Lacken, Kilmihil, as “unbelievable”.
Judge Larkin stated: “If it was the wild west you would say something, but this is supposed to be a civilised country.”
Solicitor for Denis Waters, Patrick Moylan, said that “chaos” unfolded after Brian Waters looked on to see gardaí pursue his father Denis into the farmyard at Derreen, Tullycrine at around 1:30a.m on October 26 last.
Solicitor for Brian Waters, John Casey, said that “out of nothing, all hell broke loose” in the farmyard as his client was helping a cow to calve at the time when Denis Waters and gardaí entered the yard.
Mr. Moylan said that Denis Waters had earlier driven to the local pub “to have a few drinks” on the night and he got a call to return home as Brian was having trouble with a cow calving.
The solicitor added that the cow was in difficulty and he left the pub to get into the car to return home to help Brian with the cow.
He said that Denis Waters had arranged to get a lift home from the pub before getting the call from his son.
Sgt. Louis Moloney said that Denis Waters had taken off at speed from the pub at Tullycrine in the direction of Kilrush.
He said that the garda patrol car activated the blue lights and siren but Denis Waters failed to stop.
Sgt. Moloney said that Denis Waters took a right turn to a farmhouse, and that gardaí wanted to arrest him on suspicion of drink driving. Both cars arrived at the farmyard.
However, the court heard that gardaí were prevented from arresting Denis Waters when he picked up the calving jack in the farmyard and started to swing it, almost striking garda Gerard Summerly on the head.
Sgt. Moloney said that garda Summerly was pushed back by Brian Waters on numerous occasions, who went to a shed, picked up a pitchfork and told garda Summerly: “I am going to give it to you”.
Sgt. Moloney stated that while Brian Waters “was prodding the pitchfork forward at garda Summerly, he had no option but to deploy his OC [pepper] spray in a bid to protect himself”.
The sergeant said that gardaí from Ennis and Kilrush came to the scene.
He said that Denis Waters made good his escape into the fields behind the farmyard. The following morning, he presented himself to the local superintendent.
Judge Larkin imposed, on Denis Waters, a six-year driving ban after he pleaded guilty to driving without insurance. She also imposed a four-year driving ban for dangerous driving, and fines of €800.
‘He should not have been driving’ – judge
Judge Larkin said: “Denis Waters should not have been driving.”
The judge adjourned sentencing of Brian Waters for the completion of a probation report to see if he is suitable for a community service order.
Brian Waters pleaded guilty to producing a pitchfork during the course of a dispute and obstructing a garda during the course of his duties.
Judge Larkin also ordered that a probation report be carried out on Denis Waters concerning his obstruction offence and adjourned all remaining cases to October.
Mr. Casey said that Brian Waters works as a mechanic but helps with the farm before he goes to work and after he comes home from work.
He said: “They have a suckler herd which is very much hands-on and needs 24-hour attention at certain parts of the year. Brian reacted very badly to the situation.”
The solicitor added that Brian has no previous convictions, while Sgt. Moloney said Denis Waters had a conviction for drink driving and driving without insurance.
Mr. Moylan said that the father of three adult children, Denis Waters, is very upset at what he has put his son through.
He added that when Denis Waters presented himself to the local superintendent, the superintendent agreed that what happened was “totally out of character”.