A row between a brother and sister at the bedside of their dying mother was revisited in court yesterday.
Noel Long, aged 62, of Maulbawn, Passage West, Co Cork, was given a three-month suspended jail sentence for his threatening behaviour.
Long pleaded not guilty to that charge and to a further count of assaulting his sister, Julianne Moore, at a ward in Cork University Hospital on Aug 14 last.
During her testimony, Ms Moore called her brother a liar and Long repeatedly replied “not at all” when many of her allegations were put to him yesterday at Cork District Court.
On the matter of using threatening and abusive language, Long appeared to choke back tears as he said: “Not at all, it is not in my vocabulary, it is totally foreign. This is her [Julianne Moore’s] swansong in relation to myself. I just want to avoid her at all costs.”
The judge dismissed the assault charge but convicted Long of engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace. The judge fined him €400 and imposed the suspended sentence.
Ms Moore said she had spent five nights at her mother’s bedside at the CUH and was having a cup of tea with the husband of another patient when her brother entered the room.
“He attacked me. He was highly abusive and very violent and demanded to have time with his mother. I said I was entitled to be there. My mother was dying. He said to get the fuck away from his mother. I said this is my mother and I want to be here with her.
“I was grabbed from behind. He viciously attacked me from behind. The man I was having a cup of tea with was viciously attacked.
“He was lying across my mother saying, ‘The fucking vultures are here, I told you that would happen’. Those were the words he was shouting in my dying mother’s ears. He made a bad mistake putting his hands on me at the foot of my mother’s bed. It is not the first time he beat me but it will certainly be the last.”
Under cross-examination, Ms Moore denied having anything to do with coverage of the matter in The Sunday World recently, or telling the newspaper her brother received €170,000 in carers’ allowances for looking after their mother.
She said her brother had kept her and other members of the family away from her mother. The defendant said he had not spoken to his sister for almost 30 years. Long said he mistakenly thought the man, whose wife was also in the ward, was what he called one of his sister’s boyfriends. He said he and this man pushed each other but that he (Long) later apologised and they became friends. He said, on the day in question, he saw his sister and the man “laughing and having tea and buttering scones and I thought it was very disrespectful to my mother who was heavily sedated”.
Judge Riordan said of Long’s evidence: “He was very controlled in the manner in which he spoke about her [Ms Moore]. He was holding in his capacity to give expression to what he really thinks.”