A 74-year-old man harassed his neighbour by blocking a sewer pipe, writing abusive letters and pasting the word informer on his car when the victim queried his planning permission for converting a shed into apartments.
Seán Butler of Little Silver, Lehenaghmore, Cork, admitted the harassment and was before Cork District Court for sentencing yesterday.
Judge Con O’Leary said: “An awful lot depends on what his attitude is now.”
Peter O’Flynn, barrister, explained this to Butler before he gave evidence yesterday. The 74-year-old was then asked what his attitude was now to his behaviour. He replied: “Extremely sorry. Regretful. In hindsight I would not do it again. It was an over-reaction. I am extremely sorry. I always dealt fairly and straight.”
He then went on to say that his neighbour had blocked his (the defendant’s) property with his bin and he spoke to him about this. Butler then alleged yesterday that his neighbour went to head-butt him and told him: 'You don’t know what you are in for, boy'.
Butler added: “I was wondering why he said that to me – what was the meaning of what he said?”
He went on to say that his neighbour constantly reported him to the planning authorities in relation to the garage conversion and also reported to gardaí a video camera on his (Butler’s) property - alleging that it was being used for surveillance of the victim.
Asked what his attitude is now to his neighbour, he said: “Absolutely no problem. We are different personalities. I have no intention of interfering with him.”
After listening to the defendant, Judge O’Leary said that as far as Butler was concerned it was all his neighbour’s fault. Mr O’Flynn, barrister for Butler, said the defendant accepts his responsibility, apologised and brought €300 to Cork District Court.
After further submissions the judge said that he would impose a suspended jail sentence in light of the defendant’s age and the absence of previous convictions and he also required the accused to bring in a further €1,000 in compensation.
The 74-year-old admitted causing criminal damage to a property at Fernwood Crescent, Togher, Cork, on Aug 17, 2018 by blocking a sewer pipe belonging to Cork County Council.
He also admitted harassment of a man at Lehenaghmore between Nov 25 and 26, 2017.
The victim said he and his family were traumatised by the harassment from Butler.
Inspector James Hallahan gave an outline of the background to the harassment perpetrated by Seán Butler on a neighbour:
“The harassment has its origins in the fact that in Nov 2017 this neighbour queried a Velux window that was put in a garage conversion belonging to Seán Butler. Over the next 12 months Seán Butler sent him six letters which were abusive and highly insulting.
"This culminated in a sewer pipe being blocked, affecting (the complainant’s) property, and a sign with the text, ‘informer’, placed over the front number plate of his car. There were also other incidents when the complainant was out walking his dog.”