A man in his 50s who was the victim of a campaign of harassment lasting months lost three stone and became suicidal, it emerged as the culprit was given a 10-month suspended jail term.
Judge Olann Kelleher described the harassment by the 62-year-old as vicious, callous and scurrilous and that it had a devastating impact on the injured party.
The judge noted that the defendant sent letters that were designed to cause “maximum difficulties for the victim who lost over three stone of weight with worry, it caused him serious stress. He had to explain matters to his employer. It was so serious to him he had suicidal thoughts.”
The judge noted from evidence previously given in Cork District Court that the accused man threatened his brother-in-law that he would send letters about him to his mother who was dying in hospital at the time.
Judge Kelleher said: “This is a very troubling and upsetting case. It warrants a custodial sentence. I have read the probation report. They say he is a low risk of reoffending. I have to take into consideration his age and his misguided loyalty to his sister.
“I think that despite his age the court must consider custody. But having read the probation report I don’t think it would serve society. So I will spare him that. However, it was a scurrilous thing to do.
The judge impose a 10-month sentence suspended for a period of two years.
“He is to have no contact direct or indirect with the injured party. Otherwise he will automatically served the 10 months,” Judge Kelleher warned.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis said the harassment went on from the beginning of February until the end of May 2022. When questioned about the numerous threatening and abusive letters that were sent, the accused made full admissions.
Compounding the crime, he also harassed a member of An Garda Síochána dealing with the case. In respect of his brother-in-law, the defendant pleaded guilty to harassment under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, and harassment of the garda under the Harassment and Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020.
Defence solicitor, Donal Daly, said: “He was 100% wrong from the start to the finish – no excuse. His conduct was appalling. He very much regrets it. He understands the impact on the people involved.
“There is no possibility that anything like this will ever recur. He will not have any contact. He is profoundly sorry.” A court order is in place prohibiting identification of the injured party who is a brother-in-law of the accused.