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Friday 20 October 2017

Suspended sentence for Talbot Street disturbance

TWELVE WITNESSES HEARD IN FOUR-HOUR TRIAL

A WEXFORD town man received a three month suspended sentence at Wexford District Court last week in a case that lasted some four hours and involved 12 witnesses.

James Breen (56, pictured), 10 Devereux Villas, was charged with engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at Talbot Street on September 13, 2011.

Sgt. John Barrett said the HSE has asked for a garda presence at Grogan's field, off Grogan's Road, in case of a breach of the peace. He said the lands were owned b y the HSE.

At 11.15 a.m. Breen approached the only entrance to the field, which is on Talbot Street, and ' he appeared to be pretty irate'. He said Breen attempted to enter the field and 'on two occasions he pushed me on my chest'.

Breen, he said, was verbally abusive in front of members of the public and said 'f *** you, you work for the HSE. They give you jobs when you retire. You're scum of the earth. You won't stop me going on my land.'

He said Breen said 'f *** you, bring me to court' on several occasions.

Breen was arrested at 11.20 a.m. and brought to Wexford Garda Station where he was processed by Garda Paul Doyle.

Under cross-examination from Breen, who was defending himself, Sgt. Barrett agreed that earlier that morning another man had tried to prevent the HSE from removing a fence from the field in question. However, that man was not before the court.

Breen made reference to a civil matter regarding the land and asked Sgt. Barrett if he had seen any court order on the day, to which Sgt. Barrett replied 'my function was to prevent a breach of the peace'.

Breen also put it to Sgt. Barrett that he had been arrested on private property and Sgt. Barrett said Breen was partly on the path and partly on the road.

Sgt. Barrett said Breen calmed down at the station and 'wasn't violent or irate' and was given a cup of tea.

He said at the scene he had ' been hard to handle and it took me and Sgt. Whelan to arrest him'. He denied pushing against Breen, saying ' I just used the necessary force to arrest him'. Sgt. Denis Whelan gave similar evidence. In his own evidence, Breen said he had a horse in the corner of Grogan's field and had been 'very, very concerned' about it.

He said 'I was a bit irate, I must say that, but I don't agree with all of what was said'.

He said the workmen were 'demolishing my fence' and said he was denied access to the field to get his horse.

'I was pushing a bit but they were pushing too, not violent but a pushing motion.'

He said after he was released from the garda station, he returned to the field to get his horse. He also took issue with the service of the summons saying he hadn't received it but Judge Clyne said Judge Gerard Haughton had deemed the service okay at a previous sitting of the court. Under cross-examination from Inspector Pat McDonald, he agreed he was irate. 'But irate is not threatening, irate is not going to shoot someone,' he added.

In respect of the claims he made about the gardai getting jobs with the HSE, he said ' the dogs on the street know what I said is true'. He denied calling Sgt. Barrett the 'scum of the earth'.

Breen told Judge Patrick Clyne 'when you have horses, it's like children, because you have to think about them all the time. They can do anything. I heard the fence was being taken down and I came down to save them. I might have pushed against them but I didn't physically hurt anyone. I wasn't threatening anyone.'

Judge Clyne handed down a three-month sentence which he suspended for two years on condition Breen enter a good behaviour bond for two years in his own bond of €10.

Breen told Judge Clyne he felt the punishment was 'very unfair'.

Recognisances were fixed for the event of an appeal.

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