Man harassed woman ‘after hearing voices in his head’

A man who harassed a woman for nine months had been hearing voices warning him he would be menaced by evil spirits if he disobeyed them, a court has heard.

Man harassed woman ‘after hearing voices in his head’

Alan Foley, aged 32, of 36 Woodview, Pinecroft, Grange, Cork, was found not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday at Cork District Court on a charge of harassing the woman at her home in Cork from October 2013 to July 2014.

Sergeant Miriam McGuire told Cork District Court Foley knew the injured party and turned up persistently at her home between October 2013 and January 2014, sometimes four or five times a day.

“The injured party and her family were initially patient and understood there may be issues with Mr Foley,” said Sgt Maguire. “But on January 9, 2014, they called to the gardaí.

“An Garda Síochána served a behaviour warning on him advising him to desist in calling to the house on January 12, 2014, but on January 13 2014, he called again.”

Foley was admitted to the mental health unit of Cork University Hospital that day and on several occasions afterwards, but he repeatedly absconded only to turn up outside the victim’s home. This also occurred even after being admitted to a more secure psychiatric unit.

Gardaí attended at the victim’s home on April 10, 2014, and directed Foley to leave but he refused and had to be removed by gardaí. Absconding again from a psychiatric unit, he returned to the house a short time later.

Sgt McGuire said this was particularly upsetting for the woman and members of her family.

“He has caused huge upset and has seriously disrupted their peace of mind,” said Sgt McGuire.

Judge Leo Malone asked defence solicitor Frank Buttimer if this prosecution evidence was accepted. Mr Buttimer replied: “Absolutely.”

John Brosnan, State solicitor, said consultant psychiatrist Harry Kennedy and prepared a report on Foley for the court.

Mr Buttimer said that the expert called by the defence, consultant psychiatrist onor O’Neill, was in agreement with Prof Kennedy’s report. Dr O’Neill gave evidence in Cork District Court yesterday.

Dr O’Neill said schizophrenia was a most serious mental illness and that Foley was suffering from a very serious form of it.

“He hears multiple voices, command voices telling him to do various things,” said Dr O’Neill. “He hears threats from voices to do certain things and that [if he didn’t do them] he would be menaced or harmed by evil spirits.”

Dr O’Neill said Foley was hearing these voices before, during, and after the period of the harassment referred to in the case.

Judge Leo Malone said that, based on the evidence, he was finding Foley not guilty of harassment by reason of insanity.

Mr Brosnan said that once that finding was made, the appropriate order was to remand Foley in custody to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) firstly for two weeks. Thereafter, it is open to the State to apply to have him remanded in custody for further psychiatric treatment. Judge Malone remanded him in custody to the CMH until June 19.

Judge Malone noted from the legislation that, where a court was satisfied of a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, it “shall” commit the person to the (CMH).

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