*A special session will be required for the case. 

A JUDGE has described a case where a County Galway farmer is accused of assaulting his neighbouring farmer with an iron bar as “an epic district court case”.

At Gort District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett made his comment after being told that the two families concerned in the case “were once very close friends” and that he would hear evidence from eight witnesses.

In the case, Brendan Forde (52) of Caherawoneen, Kinvara, Co Galway is charged with the assault causing harm of Brian Gill at Cahermore, Kinvara, Co Galway on July 1st 2021 and producing an iron bar in the course of a dispute contrary to Section 11 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Brian Gill (40) of Cahermore, Kinvara, Co Galway faces a charge of assaulting Brendan Forde at Cahermore, Kinvara, Co Galway on the same date.

Both accused are pleading not guilty to the charges.

Judge Gabbett was told that the dispute on the day arose from a belief by Brian Gill that a 13 year old boy was driving a tractor and Mr Gill had taken the keys of the Forde family owned tractor to prevent the teenager from driving the tractor and brought them to a local Garda Station.

Solicitor for Brendan Forde, Olivia Lynch said that the allegation of the minor driving the tractor on the road is disputed by her own client.

Insp Georgina Lohan told the court that an initial altercation took place between Michael Forde, Brendan Forde’s father and Bran Gill concerning the tractor key and Michael Forde told Brendan that an altercation had taken place in Mr Gill’s yard.

Insp Lohan said that Brendan Forde then came to the yard with another brother, Ollie Forde and the allegation will be that Brendan Forde took up an iron bar and Mr Gill received an injury.

Judge Gabbett warned of the consequences for the two accused stating that they could get very serious criminal convictions.

He said, “The alleged Gill assault is a very serious assault. I am thinking of the future and neighbourliness. An apology is required”.

He said, “They both strike as men who don’t have previous convictions – and they could end up with a criminal record on this.”

He asked, “How are we doing to deal with this for the next 20 or 30 years? Both parties are very young – this isn’t going away is it? No matter what happens here today”.

He said, “It has all the hallmarks of being back here again and again and again. We all know how disputes about gates and neighbours and all the rest of it – it usually ends up in a conflagration.”

Ms Lynch said, “My client has no history of being in court”.

Judge Gabbett said that the case will require “a special session”.

He said, “There are serious issues going forward with neighbours. We have people who feel wronged – there is a minor involved. This is a district court case – but it is an epic district court case”.

Judge Gabbett adjourned the case to next month to fix a date for hearing later in the year.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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