A man found guilty of pouring a bag of flour over another man's car in a row over parking could face jail after a judge described his behaviour as “outrageous”.
Lionel Fehervari, 24, was found guilty of using threatening or abusive behaviour and of causing criminal damage in the incident, with a court hearing he called another man “an Irish pig”.
Bandon District Court heard that Fehervari, a father-of-two, was alleged to have keyed a car belonging to another man, Donal O’Mahony, after Mr O’Mahony had parked outside Mr Fehervari’s house at 3 Parnell St in Bandon.
Mr Fehervari, a Hungarian, denied touching Mr O’Mahony’s car but admitted throwing flour over it and then said he later tried to wash it off using a bucket of water.
Mr O’Mahony told Judge James McNulty that on the evening of November 7, 2021, he and his wife went out to the Kilmichael Bar in the town for their first night out after the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Mr O’Mahony said he does not drink and parked his car on Parnell St. He forgot his facemask so walked back to get it and he said on leaving his car the second time another car - driven by Mr Fehervari - drove up, flashing its lights.
“He said ‘move, move, that is my parking space, that is where I live’,” Mr O’Mahony said, adding that he told the man that it was a public street and that he could park there.
Mr O’Mahony told the judge that Mr Fehervari then became abusive, initially in his native language.
“He said ‘you Irish pigs, you think you own this country’, that kind of stuff,” Mr O'Mahony said, adding that he was “scared” and that he and his wife avoided entering the bar immediately and only did so when they saw the car driven by Mr Fehervari drive away.
However, when Mr O’Mahony returned to his car two hours later he discovered it was covered in a white material. He called gardaí who arrived at the scene and knocked on the door of the nearest property, which was that of Mr Fehervari. He was not in but his father told gardaí his son had poured flour on the car.
Garda evidence in court was that Mr Fehervari then returned, having been contacted by his father, and admitted to pouring flour on the car.
However, Mr O’Mahony said that when he had the car, a Ford Kuga, washed the following day, long scratch marks were discovered on one side and on the bonnet.
Mr Fehervari’s solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, told the judge his client admitted that there had been a verbal altercation and to pouring flour on the vehicle, but denied causing any scratches.
Mr Fehervari said he had been carrying kerosene into his house and wanted to park near the door. He alleged that he had received some racist abuse in the altercation and said he had never touched the car.
Mr Fehervari’s parents both gave evidence that they saw flour on the car and the attempt to wash it off with a bucket of water. Neither had made a statement to gardaí and the court did not accept that Mr Fehervari’s parents actually saw their son throw the flour on the car.
Judge McNulty said both charges were proven and that Mr Fehervari - who had four previous convictions for road traffic offences - was “an untruthful witness”.
“He is in denial,” the judge said, adding that Mr Fehervari had “a strong sense of entitlement and of his own importance”.
“At 24 he thinks he is the boss of this little corner in Bandon,” Judge McNulty said.
He ordered that Mr Fehervari pay compensation of €1,000 to Mr O’Mahony and another €500 to the Courts Service by March 20 next so as to avoid a possible jail sentence.
“His conduct is outrageous,” the judge said.