*Flan McNamara following the sitting of Ennis Circuit Court. 

A CLARE equine farmer repeatedly struck his brother in law across his body with an ash-plant in a row over where the farmer’s mare should be ‘covered’.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Flan McNamara (72) has walked free for the assault causing harm on Thomas Casey (71) at Carrowreagh West, Cranny, Kilrush after Judge Francis Comerford imposed a four month suspended prison term on the man.

Mr McNamara pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm charge and has also paid over €5,000 in compensation to Mr Casey.

Outlining the background to the dispute between the ‘horse experts’ , counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL told the court that Mr McNamara of Carrowreagh West, Cranny, Kilrush became “very vexed that his plan to bring the mare to be covered in Roscommon was being thwarted”.

Garda John Cahill told the court “that seems to be the crux of it” and said that Mr Casey had wanted the mare instead to be ‘covered’ or ‘impregnated’ in Limerick. Garda Cahill said that Mr Casey had been assisting Mr McNamara with his horses as Mr McNamara was being treated for cancer at the time.

When imposing sentence, Judge Comerford said that Mr Casey “should not be re-victimsed” after hearing victim impact evidence from Mr Casey that some members of his family don’t talk to him after he reported the assault to Gardaí. Judge Comerford said that the ‘re-victimisation’ “can’t be laid at the door of Mr McNamara”.

Flan McNamara.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Casey said: “Some members of my family have stopped speaking to me over reporting this matter to the Gardaí but I am the one left with an ongoing injury”.

Counsel for Mr McNamara, Brian McInerney SC said that “there has been a certain fracturing within the family and extended family and family members have taken up positions and that is no fault of my client”.

In the victim impact statement read by Garda Cahill, Mr Casey said that as a result of the assault, his doctor has diagnosed him “with only 60 percent use in my left arm and I am in daily pain since the assault due to stiffness in the arm which he struck me on as I was defending my face and head from him”.

Mr Casey added that “I have had to pay for doctor visits, medication, physio with no end in sight to it. This assault has greatly impacted on me. I wish I had never gone up to Flan after getting the message to call up that day”.

Mr Casey told the court that he worked for Kerry Co-op for 25 years and retired 10 years ago but has an interest in cattle and horses “and I keep both”.

On June 3rd 2020, Garda Cahill said that Mr Casey was going to the yard of Mr McNamara to remove his own mare in foal as he was requested to do so.

Garda Cahill said that while there, words were exchanged between the two and Mr McNamara then used an ash-plant to hit Mr Casey a number of times. Garda Cahill said that Mr Casey received injuries to his shoulders, arm and leg.

Garda Cahill said that Mr Casey still has a lot of pain in his right shoulder and is awaiting a procedure at Croom hospital and recovery is slow.

Counsel for Mr McNamara, Mr McInerney said that the victim in the case, Mr Casey was married to Mr McNamara’s sister and that lady is deceased. Mr McInerney said that “these two men would have had an active and avid interest in sports horses and breeding of same and consider themselves to have great expertise”.

He said, “Both would have strong views about breeding lines and so forth and in the course of the last 30 years the two have tangled over horses and mares on and off over all those years”. Mr McInerney described the events of June 3rd 2020 as “an isolated blip in an otherwise unblemished life where Mr McNamara has had no previous convictions”.

Mr McInerney said that another mitigating factor is that Mr McNamara was suffering from cancer at the time requiring two operations and courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He said that Mr McNamara’s health was poor at the time and was in the throes of cancer treatment around this time.

Mr McInerney said that Mr McNamara has been treated for a mental health condition and this was under control and stable but was exacerbated by the requirement to take medication for his life endangering illness.

Mr McInerney said that Mr Casey has initiated civil legal proceedings against Mr McNamara concerning the assault. Mr McInerney said that the attack was not premeditated or preplanned.

Imposing sentence, Judge Comerford said that Mr McNamara’s culpability “is very much reduced by the medical evidence before me”.

Judge Comerford said that the assault did involve an attack with a weapon and had serious consequences for Mr Casey.

Judge Comerford said that the assault by Mr McNamara was “an ill-tempered reaction” and carried out on a “spur of the moment”.

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