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23 May 2022

Judge overturns Longford woman's hatchet conviction

Longford Courthouse.

A Longford woman has successfully won an appeal for alleged hatchet possession during a purported traveller feud between two locally based families.

A Longford woman has successfully won an appeal for alleged hatchet possession during a purported traveller feud between two locally based families.

Jane Ward, Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown was found guilty at a sitting of Longford District Court last October of allegedly possessing the article following an incident at Cloonahussey, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford on November 2, 2019.

Ms Ward was the front front seat passenger in a BMW car which had been spotted by detectives parked up just off the main N4 between Longford and Edgeworthstown beside the former ballroom, The Fountain Blue at around 7:30pm.

Court hears how Longford man stole digger and attempted to hide it in back garden of house

In an incident described as 'utmost lunacy', a man stole a €25,000 digger by driving it 3km to his home in Longford town at 3 mp/hr during the early hours of the morning before attempting to hide it in his back garden, a court has heard.

Detective Garda Orla Geraghty said as she spoke with Ms Ward, a blue and white hatchet could be seen in the front footwell beside the accused woman’s feet. Det Garda Geraghty said Ms Ward offered up no reasonable explanation, insisting she bought it for chopping wood.

Defence counsel for Ms Ward, Niall Flynn BL, argued the prosecution's case was unfounded on the claim his client was embroiled in an ongoing feud.

Mr Flynn said while gardaí had certain powers to stop and search vehicles, there was no evidence before the court to suggest Ms Ward had been either a central or peripheral figure in any dispute.

Judge Johnson ruled in favour of Ms Ward, saying the charge of the accused possessing the article with intent to intimidate or cause injury was “not strong enough”.

State solicitor Mark Connellan asked for the aforementioned hatchet to be destroyed in a request which was granted by Judge Johnson.

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