A businessman, who was driving a powerful 4x4 vehicle, admitted to assaulting and abusing a 79-year-old driver whose wife, 82, was also in the car, in a road rage incident at a shopping centre in Tralee.
The road rage incident took place at a roundabout in the Tralee Park, where the speed limit is 30km per hour, on September 14, 2015.
Liam Walsh, aged 42, of Limerick Road, Castleisland, had pulled out in front of 79-year-old Jeremiah Griffin, who was exiting the Manor West Shopping Park.
A year later, Walsh was before the district court in Tralee charged with two counts — a minor assault under the Non-Fatal Offences Against The Person Act, and a breach of the peace, under the Public Order Act.
The court heard how Mr Griffin of Marian Park, Tralee, was exiting the shopping centre in his 1995 Silver Saab.
The 3-litre black 12 KY 4x4 pulled out in front of him and Mr Griffin braked, and took evasive action to avoid a collision.
Mr Griffin beeped and Walsh got out of his 4x4, approached Mr Griffin, opened the door, and according to the prosecution, “grabbed him by the throat” and started shouting abuse at the 79-year-old.
There were no injuries, said Sgt Miriam Mulhall Nolan.
His client accepts that “technically” he “assaulted the other man” Padraig O’Connell, solicitor, told Judge James O’Connor.
However, Mr Griffin had started beeping the horn and “was shaking his fist” at his client, the solicitor also said. He said his client did not catch the other man by the throat, but had merely put his hand on his shoulder.
Judge O’Connor asked why Mr Walsh was “so vexed”.
The solicitor said he felt there was ample room between him and the other car.
“This was totally out of character and he over-reacted on the occasion. He totally apologises,” said Mr O’Connell.
Walsh had no previous conviction.
Sgt Mulhall-Nolan said the public order charge was brought because “a few expletives” were used by Mr Walsh.
Judge O’Connor asked her to elaborate and the Sergeant told how Walsh had said to Mr Griffin “Shut your effing mouth you effing c*** or I will redden the lot of ye…”
Mr Griffin’s wife, aged 82 ,was in the back seat of the car, the court also heard, and the judge said must have suffered mental scarring.
The judge said: “It’s nasty. He got more than annoyed. He went and physically assaulted him in reality.”
However, the judge accepted it was an aberration on the part of Walsh and said he would strike it out.
The public order summons was withdrawn and Walsh, who the court heard works in the construction business, peeled off €1,500 in cash — €1,000 for the driver and €500 for his wife. He also paid €1,000 into the court poor box. The assault charge was struck out.
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