'It isn't just royal brothers at each other's throats': Quarrelling brothers end up in appeal court

Frank Nyhan, state solicitor, said, in the case where there were years of animosity between the brothers, the case related to just one single incident.
'It isn't just royal brothers at each other's throats': Quarrelling brothers end up in appeal court

Frank Nyhan, state solicitor, said, in the case where there were years of animosity between the brothers, the case related to just one single incident where there was an allegation by Donal Ahern that he was assaulted by his brother Michael at Ballinaglogh, Carraig na bhFear, County Cork, back on November 28 2018. Picture: iStock

“IT isn’t just the royal brothers who are at each other’s throats – we are at it out in Carraig na bhFear.”

That was the comment from Judge Helen Boyle in the case relating to two middle-aged brothers that came before Cork Circuit Appeals Court where one brother claimed the other jumped on his back causing him to fall down stairs and the other said he had to position himself between his brother and his rabbits as he feared his brother would kill the pets.

Frank Nyhan, state solicitor, said, in the case where there were years of animosity between the brothers, the case related to just one single incident where there was an allegation by Donal Ahern that he was assaulted by his brother Michael at Ballinaglogh, Carraig na bhFear, County Cork, back on November 28 2018.

It was alleged that Donal spat at Michael on that date and that Michael jumped on Donal’s back causing him to fall down stairs. For his part, Donal Ahern accepted an adult caution from the inspector at Midleton garda station at the time. If Michael Ahern had done likewise there would have been no court case, Judge Helen Boyle explained to him.

However, she said the facts were proven against Michael Ahern at the district court and again now at Cork Circuit Appeals Court and after convicting him of the assault, Judge Boyle put Michael on a probation bond to keep the peace for a period of 12 months.

Donal Ahern owns the property and lives there with his wife and family. His brother Michael has a right of residence there but there are substantial difficulties between the two brothers, Mr Nyhan said at the outset.

“He jumped on my back. I fell down the stairs. There was an ambulance called,” Donal Ahern said. 

He added that he got an adult caution for the part of the incident for which he was culpable.

Michael Ahern’s barrister, Alan O’Dwyer, said of the November 28, 2018 incident: “It started in the outhouse?” Donal replied: “It started years before that.” Mr O’Dwyer BL said: “We are only dealing with November 28.” Donal said: “You are only dealing with what suits you.”

Donal said: “My brother was videoing us through the kitchen window.” Mr O’Dwyer BL asked: “Which camera did you spit at?” Donal replied: “There are so many cameras – one on his head, one on his belt. He has numerous cameras. That is how he operates. It is harassment and intimidation.” The barrister said of Michael: “He resides there legally.” Donal replied: “Yes.” The barrister continued: “After you followed him to the outhouse and spat at him you went to his empty house where he resides and he told you before you are not to go there. You were trespassing.” Donal replied: “It is my house. Entrapment is what he is up to. That is how we live in Carraig na bhFear. He hunts me from one end of the day to the other. Unfortunately, my brother is not well.” The barrister asked: “Do you spit in the face on anybody else who is not well?” Donal said he spat into his brother’s camera lens.

Referring to his brother’s animals, Donal said: “The rabbits, the cats, the excrement, the smells – what we have to live in is a horror show. 

"I could have been here in a wheelchair or in the coroner’s court – that is where we live, thanks to the actions of my brother.” 

Mr O’Dwyer said to Donal that he fell down the stairs. He replied: “I probably did because he was on my back… Why does someone carry around all those cameras only they are trying to set up events. And by the time you get through all the GSOC (Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission) complaints he has made… Sir, one arm is not long enough for what this man has done.”

Mr O’Dwyer said Michael only acted in self-defence because he is in fear of his brother Donal. Donal said: “Nothing suits my brother. Everyone is wrong in life bar my brother. He never acted in self-defence. All he does is antagonise.”

Michael, 53, did not give evidence but his prepared statement which he gave to Garda Brian McCabe was read in court. He said that after a walk with his dog he went into the outhouse to go to the deep freeze for potato croquettes, onion rings and calamari for his dinner when his brother Donal came in and stared at him – which he described as ‘routine’.

“He accused me of filming him and his wife. He squared up to me a few times. I held a camera at eye level. He spat in my face and in the camera lens.

“My two pet rabbits were in my bedroom. I feared he would kill them. That is why I went upstairs that day. Otherwise I would have left him at it. I carefully positioned myself between Donal and the rabbits. As he approached me again I sensed he was going to sucker-punch me.”

He stated that Donal kneed him twice during a scuffle and fell down the stairs and then feigned injury. Michael said to his brother: “Now Donie, you shouldn’t come into people’s houses.” Michael said he then rang 999.

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