Builder avoids jail for attacking neighbour after 'lengthy dispute'
A Dublin builder found guilty of attacking his neighbour outside their homes following a lengthy dispute has been given a six-month suspended sentence.
Peter Lambe (50) had denied assault causing harm to Gerard Furlong (62), who suffered serious facial injuries during the incident at Arran Road, Drumcondra, on the morning of March 4, 2016.
He was found guilty following a trial at Dublin District Court in December and completed a restorative justice service programme.
Finalising the case, Judge Patricia Harney imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition Lambe does not re-offend within the next 12 months.
His barrister had pleaded with the court to spare him a criminal record so he can move to Australia with his partner.
He had offered €1,000 to Mr Furlong, who had earlier turned down an offer of compensation.
The accused "seems to view it as an altercation that got out of hand", counsel had said.
The court heard there was "no love lost" between the neighbours and the incident followed a lengthy dispute.
Mr Furlong had told the trial that on the day of the incident, he had to go to a doctor's app- ointment.
When his daughter Claire Tynan arrived he got into her car and was pulling away from the house. He noticed a rear door was open and got out to close it.
He testified that Lambe had been at his van and wanted to speak with him, but Mr Furlong did not want to talk to the neighbour.
He rejected claims by the defendant that he started the fight or that he had dragged Lambe to the ground.
Lambe grabbed him and pulled him around and started punching him, he said.
They went to the ground and Lambe got the better of him and started punching him in the face.
He said his daughter came out and a neighbour witnessed the incident. He was in total shock and has had medical expenses as a result of the attack, he said.
Ms Tynan said she was petrified when she saw the attack on her father, and described how he was punched and continuously headbutted.
Her father was disorientated and the court heard he suffered cuts and bruising to his face. He was taken to the Mater.
In his victim impact statement, he told the court he and his wife intended to move out of the area.
Father-of-one Lambe lived in the cul-de-sac and acted as a carer for his mother.
He told the court he said to Mr Furlong "We need to have a talk about your wife", because she kept making faces at him.
The court heard there had been earlier disputes between the neighbours, and when Lambe went to Mr Furlong's home five days earlier to discuss things, he had the door slammed in his face.
He claimed he was attacked first and they ended up in a scuffle on the ground.
Pleading for leniency, his barrister asked the judge to note his client looks after his mother who was deaf and mute.
It was clear what happened was at the back end of a lengthy dispute and there was no love lost between them, he said.