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Man attacked his brother and sister-in-law in row over Council housing


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Man attacked his brother and sister-in-law in row over Council housing Man attacked his brother and sister-in-law in row over Council housing

A father-of-five who attacked his brother and sister-in-law with an iron bar in a dispute over a house has been given one more chance to engage with the Probation Service.

Martin Cleary of 31 Lios na Coille, Ballybane was before Galway Circuit Criminal Court where he pleaded guilty to assault, assault causing harm and criminal damage at the injured parties’ home in Fana Glas, Ballybane on May 21, 2019.

The court heard that gardaí were called to the scene at 7.40pm where Daniel Cleary and his wife, Donna Cleary had sustained injuries after the defendant picked up an iron bar that was lying on the ground and launched an attack on them both.

Daniel Cleary sustained a one-inch laceration to his elbow while Donna Cleary’s hand was injured as she tried to get hold of the weapon from the defendant. The passenger window of their car was smashed in the altercation.

CCTV footage captured of the scene was consistent with the injured parties’ statements, Judge Brian O’Callaghan was told.

The fracas had broken out after the Council allocated a house to his brother which the defendant believed he was entitled to.

Defending barrister Ernest White told the court that he had been instructed to publicly apologise to both Daniel and Donna Cleary on behalf of his client.

However, Judge O’Callaghan described the probation report he had received on the defendant as ‘damning’.

“You have refused to admit to the probation officer that you caused this assault and you’re blaming everyone else for what you did,” said Judge O’Callaghan.

Mr White said Cleary had not come to garda attention since 2019 and part of his problem was that he suffers with hearing loss and a speech impediment, adding “he finds it quite hard to express himself”.

The defendant had significant mental health issues and the probation officer was unable to assist as Cleary had continued to deny the offence he had already pleaded guilty to.

Judge O’Callaghan said: “As far as this court is concerned, your hearing had nothing to do with this”.

Giving Cleary another opportunity to engage with the Probation Service, the Judge said he wanted to see that the defendant was fully remorseful for what he had done.

The only reason Cleary was not being sent to prison immediately was because he had not been in trouble since 2019, said Judge O’Callaghan who adjourned the matter to December 16.

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