herald

Monday 18 February 2019

Builder in attack sees apology letter as 'sticking point'

Peter Lambe was guilty of assaulting Gerard Furlong
Peter Lambe was guilty of assaulting Gerard Furlong
Gerard Furlong

A Dublin builder convicted of attacking his neighbour outside their homes following a lengthy dispute will find writing an apology letter a "sticking point", a court has heard.

Peter Lambe (50) had denied assault causing harm to Gerard Furlong (62), who suffered serious facial injuries during the incident on Arran Road, Drumcondra, on the morning of March 4, 2016.

However, he was found guilty following a trial at Dublin District Court in December.

Yesterday, despite not accepting the verdict, he pleaded with Judge John Cheatle to spare him a criminal record so he could move to Australia with his partner.

Compensation

Judge Cheatle was furnished with a probation report on Lambe.

He adjourned sentencing until April to allow the accused time to complete a restorative justice services programme.

That would involve a letter of apology which defence counsel Alan Grace described as "a sticking point" for his client.

He said Lambe had €1,000 to offer Mr Furlong, who had earlier turned down an offer of compensation. Mr Grace said the offer was still available or it could go to charity instead.

Pleading for leniency, he asked for the judge to spare his client a conviction.

He said the probation report was largely positive, but Lambe did not fully accept his guilt.

The accused "seems to view it as an altercation that got out of hand", counsel said.

The court heard there was "no love lost" between the neighbours.

Mr Furlong told the trial that his daughter, Claire Tynan, was about to drive him to a doctor's appointment when he noticed a rear door of the car was open and got out to close it.

He testified that Lambe was at his van and wanted to speak with him, but Mr Furlong did not want to do so.

Lambe grabbed him and pulled him around and started punching him, he said.

They went to ground and Lambe started punching him in the face. He said his daughter came out and a neighbour witnessed the incident.

Ms Tynan told the court she was petrified when she saw the attack on her father, and she described how he was punched and continually headbutted.

She said that afterwards Lambe raised his fist to her.

Her father was disorientated and suffered cuts and bruising to his face. He was taken to the Mater Hospital.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Furlong told the court he and his wife were in the process of moving from the area.

He said that for at least a year he was "very conscious walking out the door of his house, looking up and down".

Fear

He lost interest in events such as birthdays and Christmas, and following medical advice he went to counselling.

Since the incident his grandchildren no longer came to the house out of fear they would be assaulted.

"To this day, I still continuously live in fear of Mr Lambe," Mr Furlong said.

Defence barrister Mr Grace asked the judge to note his client looked after his mother who was deaf and mute.

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