A seven-month jail sentence was imposed yesterday on a 61-year-old man arising out of his campaign of distributing abusive, insulting and damaging allegations against a garda over a 12-year period.
It started in 2003 when the garda said he had the misfortune to arrest Michael Preator for a public order violation.
Between January 19, 2010 and February 17, 2014, he distributed material that was abusive and threatening to the guard who had arrested him in 2003.
“This is nasty stuff,” Judge James O’Connor said yesterday at Cork District Court where he convicted Preator after a trial.
Preator, in addition to being jailed, was ordered not to go within the metric equivalent of 500 yards of the injured party and not to communicate directly or indirectly with or about the injured party for 15 years.
Preator, who lives in a flat on Wellington Road, Cork, was jailed for 10 months in January 2004 for harassment of the same injured party.
The injured party felt the documents written and distributed by Preator clearly alleged that he was a paedophile, an allegation which he as a family man found extremely upsetting.
He told Judge O’Connor of the fear allegations were going on for so long that eventually some of the damaging claims would stick.
One of the gardaí who investigated the case, Garda Michael Nagle, said that he responded to a call from a resident on Wellington Road about three-page documents generated by Preator being tied to the gates of 40 houses in Wellington Road.
Peter O’Flynn, defence barrister, said the documents did claim the guard was both homosexual and homophobic and ranted about other named individuals but did not allege he was a paedophile.
Frank Nyhan, state solicitor, who prosecuted the case said they clearly did allege the garda was a paedophile.
Preator testified that the guard in question once greeted him on the street with the words, “Give us a kiss.” This was denied. .
In the witness box yesterday Preator said a normal person reading what he had written would conclude that he (Preator) “was saying that he (the injured party) was a bit stupid and perjured himself in court but I don’t say he is a paedophile.
“I don’t think he is a paedophile. I rather insulted him a little too much.”
At the end of his evidence he asked Judge O’Connor if he would delay his verdict so that he could produce evidence of a letter he had written to An Taoiseach about the case. Judge O’Connor declined
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