A Garda in the trial of a south Longford pig farmer said that he had not taken a statement from one of the accused as her husband had become aggressive when he had attended their farm to do so.
The case before Judge Anthony Hunt at Longford Circuit Court relates to an incident arising from an attempt to repossess a generator. Donal and Margaret Connaughton, from Elfleet Newtowncashel, County Longford faced charges of unlawful imprisonment, assault and threatening to kill two repossession agents. Mr Connaughton faces two further charges of damaging property.
Today (Friday, December 14) the jury heard details of the statements made by the Connaughtons to Gardaí. Garda Peter Mullen acknowledged that he did not take a statement from Mrs Connaughton about an alleged injury to her hand. In a statement read into the record, Mrs Connaughton said that she had received stitches to her finger after it was caught in a door by one of the repossession agents.
In her statement Mrs Connaughton said that Justin Tighe told her to: “F**k off if you know what’s good for you”, before shutting the door on her finger. Garda Mullen said that there was a record of Margaret Connaughton’s visit to the doctor, but Gardaí had not been able to ascertain the nature of the injury. Under cross examination by counsel for Mrs Connaughton, Mr Pauric Dwyer, Garda Mullen said that he understood that the accused had been treated for a hand injury.
Garda Seamus Egan read the statement of the defendant into the record. In it Ms Connaughton said that she had left the farm shortly after her hand was injured and had not witnessed the altercation that had been recorded on one of the repossession agent’s phone. In cross examination counsel for Mr Connaughton, Mr Paul Green, asked if Garda Egan had been involved in the GAA and if he had done a favour for a local club member 12 years ago. Garda Egan replied that he hadn’t.
In his cross examination Pauric Dwyer asked Garda Egan why he had not taken a statement from Margaret Connaughton about the alleged injury to her hand. The Garda said that he had endeavoured to do so, but that Donal Connaughton had been hostile to him when he approached the house.
Much of the evidence of the afternoon centred on the contract between the JMC Pigs Ltd and GE Money. Mr Dwyer put it to field officer for GE Money, Damien O’Reilly that Mrs Connaughton had been harassed by the company by repeatedly phoning her about the overdue account. Mr Reilly said that it was a matter of company policy and that GE Money did not harass anyone whose account is up to date.
The trial before five women and seven men resumes on Tuesday.