Suspended prison sentence for trespassing at Longford home

Defendant says he was trying to get his friend to leave the property

A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged with trespass at a local house, was sentenced to three months in prison which the judge suspended following a lengthy hearing.

Laurence Ward (22), Bay 3 Rahoon Halting Site, Circular Road, Galway appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with trespassing at the home of a local woman at Dun Mhuire, Townspark, Longford on April 8, 2018.

In his evidence to the court, Sergeant Paddy McGirl said that on the date in question at 2pm, gardaí in Longford town received a call indicating to them that there was at issue at Dun Mhuire.

Sergeant McGirl said that when members of the force arrived in the area they saw a number of males trespassing on private property.

“Mr Ward was one of the males there and he was observed jumping over a wall,” continued the Sergeant.

“Gardaí caught up with him and he was unable to offer them a satisfactory explanation as to why he was on the property in the first instance.”

In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Bríd Mimnagh said her client was currently living in Co Kildare and he had been in Longford on the date in question with some friends who lived in the town.

“He says they were acting the eejit at the time and were jumping off the wall,” continued Ms Mimnagh, before pointing out that the defendant came from a family of four brothers and two sisters and their mother had died at the age of 40.

Judge Hughes, meanwhile became angry with the line of the defence taken by Ms Mimnagh.

“Ms Mimnagh,” the Judge fumed.

“My mother died at the age of 42 and left 13 of us behind her.

“We didn’t grow up and trespass on gardens and cause trouble.

“We learned to work hard and be good citizens.”

The defendant then addressed the Judge.

Mr Ward said that he had been with two other lads that day and they had been drinking alcohol.

“I wasn’t drinking,” he continued, before pointing out that one of the lads had been drinking at the property and he was there trying to get him to leave.

“We were walking along the footpath when a member of another traveller family drove by and called us scumbags.”

Judge Hughes then said that he had heard enough.

He told Ms Mimnagh that he did not like the demeanor of her client “one little bit”.

“He is a nasty bit of stuff with drink on him late at night and here he is looking for the mercy of the court.

“I am not impressed.”

The Judge subsequently handed down the three month suspended prison sentence and told the defendant he did not want to see him in his court again.

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