Donegal farmer denies assaulting neighbour in row over cow

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that there has been a dispute between the two men about a right of way for six or seven years.

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Donegal farmer denies assaulting neighbour in row over cow

Letterkenny Courthouse

A Donegal farmer has denied assaulting a neighbour who had come on to his land to retrieve a cow.

Hugh McBride of Golan, Milford has denied assault causing harm to Gerry McGarvey on July 8th, 2015.

The prosecution has claimed Mr McBride assaulted Mr McGarvey, after he came on to this land to get a cow that was one of six that had strayed onto his land beside his home.

Mr McGarvey claims he was struck by his neighbour on the ear, and then on his face, resulting in a fractured cheekbone which he needed surgery for in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard that there has been a dispute between the two men about a right of way for six or seven years.

The court heard that Mr McGarvey was leaving for work at Milford Mart at 8.30a.m. when he noticed a cow on his neighbour’s land.

He and another neighbour went to get the animal back, but he met Mr McBride who told him he did not want him to get it and that the gardaí had been called.

Mr McGarvey told the court that when he went to get the cow that Mr McBride told him not to “go through the effing gate”.

He said that as he proceeded up the right of way, Mr McBride punched him on the right ear.

He said as he went to get the cow Mr McBride called him a ‘wee weasel’ and was giving him abuse.

Mr McGarvey said Mr McBride then punched on the right cheek, just below the eye.

Defence counsel, Peter Nolan (BL), put it to Mr McGarvey that there was no right of way to his neighbour’s land, but Mr McGarvey said there had been.

Mr Nolan said that he had failed to pay for €450 of sillage he got from his neighbour, which he accepted.

Mr McGarvey admitted that he had no right to be on the land but he wanted to get the cow back. He denied he had pushed Mr McBride out of the way and pushed through the gate.

“You could have stood there at the gate and said 'that's my cow I want it back',” Mr Nolan said to him.

Mr Nolan said McGarvey forced the gate open, even though he had been told not to. Mr Nolan put it to him that he was “like a raging bull that morning trying to get his cow”.

“You were going to get that cow and you didn't care if you had to walk over that man.”

Mr McGarvey said he ‘never touched anyone’.

He also denied he broke a gate by pulling it until it came off its hinges.

Mr Nolan put it to him that he had never been touched, and he had made the allegation up to cover his up his own behavior, which he denied.

Garda Austin Maron said he responded to a report of animals trespassing and then of an assault.

He spoke to Mr McGarvey who said he had been assaulted while trying to retrieve his cow.

The garda said there was redness and a swelling underneath Mr McGarvey’s eye which was consistent with an assault. “It was fresh, something that had just inflamed in the last number of minutes,” Garda Maron said.

Garda Maron said there had been one report of sheep breaking into Mr McGarvey’s land on June 15th.

In a statement to gardaí Mr McBride denied he assaulted Mr McGarvey.

When asked how did Mr McGarvey get the injury to his face he replied that as a farmer, he could have “got it on the land”.

He said there had been a right of way years ago on the land but as it had never been used the county council said it ceased to exist.

Hearing evidence Mr McBride denied that he pushed Mr McGarvey back but Mr McGarvey pushed him back. He said Mr McGarvey raised his fists to him and he grabbed them and held them down.

At hearing.