Judge: Neighbours need to sort out difficulties

A 68-year-old man who was upset about the noise of ball- playing outside his house denied folding back a tea-towel to reveal two steak knives and saying to his neighbour: “Let’s sort this out for once and for all.”

The man was also accused of saying: “Let’s go to a field somewhere and one of us won’t come back.”

Judge John King, who dismissed the case and said the neighbours need to sort out their difficulties, stated at the end of the case: “I find the whole thing quite bizarre.”

He said there was a complete conflict of evidence where Jim Carroll, of 32 Brooklodge, Maryborough Woods, Douglas, Cork, denied a charge of engaging in threatening words or behaviour on August 30, 2016.

The witness against him was his neighbour, Justin Banks, who is in his mid-30s.

Judge King said there were inconsistencies between what Mr Banks said in his statement to gardaí and in his court testimony.

The judge pointed to defence solicitor Frank Buttimer’s cross-examination of Mr Banks, that he described seeing Mr Carroll sitting in his car but later said he was standing beside his car.

“I have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt. I am not convinced beyond reasonable doubt, so I dismiss,” the judge ruled.

“I would, however, say there is clearly a difficulty between them and they need to do something about it.”

Both men stated that they had been good neighbours before the incident.

Mr Carroll told the court he had no problem with children playing but that his difficulty was with the noise of a ball banging against a wall in what he described as an area not designated for ball-playing.

Mr Banks alleged that Mr Carroll took two poles from his car and had a tea towel folded over, which he pulled back to reveal two steak knives. He said he went straight to gardaí and reported what the defendant allegedly said to him.

Mr Buttimer said whatever happened between the parties that morning, there was nothing sinister or intimidatory from Mr Carroll.

The defendant said he was taking stuff to the dump that morning and that Mr Banks was “throwing stares” at him.

As for what Mr Banks said about him, Mr Carroll said: “It never happened.”

Inspector Gary McPolin said to the defendant: “The elephant in the room is that the ball-playing in the park stuck in the craw for you.”

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