A judge has told ‘gentleman farmers’ that he has no interest in having court time used for a feud between the sides to be played out.
At Gort District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett said that there was a “certain brinkmanship” going on in court.
He said: "I don’t know if any of you have seen the inside of Castlerea prison, but it is looking very likely here if it continues.
“This is a sort of feud from what I can gather. It is very unseemly the whole thing.”
Judge Gabbett made his comment where a Co Galway farmer is accused of assaulting his neighbouring farmer with an iron bar.
He said: "It would appear that this is a deep seated issue between both parties."
In the case, Brendan Forde (52) of Caherawoneen, Kinvara, Co Galway, denies assault causing harm to Brian Gill at Cahermore, Kinvara, Co Galway, on 1 July 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, denies a charge of assaulting Brendan Forde at Cahermore, Kinvara, Co Galway, on the same date at the same location.
In evidence, Garda Jason Clarke said that both men made admissions to gardaí that they did carry out the assaults, but both pleaded self-defence and are pleading not guilty.
After hearing Garda Clarke’s evidence, Judge Gabbett said: "I am at a loss as to why the case is running because both parties have admitted to the allegations in statements given to An Garda Síochána.”
He said: "This is not the kind of behaviour I expect from gentleman farmers from north Clare-south Galway territory. Ye are not the type of men who should be in here.”
He said: "Ye are nice people - this is an unfortunate dispute between neighbours.
"It is very disappointing the whole thing. Are we going to have a handbags at dawn situation? We can’t have that, it would be lawlessness at a grand level."
In evidence, Garda Clarke said that he got a call to attend Brian Gill’s farmyard on 1 July 2021 and there he met with Michael Forde and two sons, Brendan and Ollie Forde, and Brian Gill was also present.
Garda Clarke stated that he witnessed Brian Gill had a laceration to the top of his head and was bleeding.
Garda Clarke stated that Mr Gill alleged that Brendan Forde had assaulted him by striking him on the head with an iron bar.
Garda Clarke stated that in his cautioned statement, Mr Gill did state that he hit Brendan Forde to his right eye.
In his statement, Mr Gill said that after he was struck with the bar, he was stunned.
Mr Gill alleged Brendan Forde threatened him again with the bar and because of that threat, he struck Brendan Forde in self defence.
Mr Gill alleged that Brendan Forde said 'I’ll give it to you again’.
Judge Gabbett told both sides that they were essentially prosecuting each other and urged both sides to reach a compromise.
Solicitor for Brendan Forde, Olivia Lynch, told Judge Gabbett: "The Fordes have no ill will towards the Gills... The Fordes want to resolve this.”
Judge Gabbett told both sides "if people were really focused, it would be resolved without publicity and without the risk of names being in papers and drawn through the muck”.
After the case was adjourned twice to allow talks to take place, the judge was told that the case goes on.
Judge Gabbett said that he would recuse himself from the case and the case can be heard in the new year before a different judge with a court date to be confirmed.