herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Judge refuses to throw out neighbours' conflict case

A JUDGE has refused to strike out the case against a woman accused of harassing her neighbours after hearing the alleged victims initially tried not to involve the gardai.

Lucy Parameswaram (44) is facing three counts of harassment of three of her neighbours on dates between 2008 and 2009.

She is denying the charges, which are under Section 10 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Parameswaram, of Maynooth Road, Celbridge, had the case against her adjourned at Dublin District Court.

She is alleged to have harassed Una O'Farrell, Paul Mooney and Ann McAuley. One of the offences is alleged to have taken place at a neighbour's house.

Eoghan Cole, defending, asked Judge Catherine Murphy to strike the case out over prosecution delays, saying it had been four years since the first complaint was made to gardai.

He said that while there was no specific prejudice to his client arising from this "exceptional" delay, "the prejudice I rely on is the inherent, ordinary prejudice when anyone is called to the stand to give evidence over conduct which goes back four years -- the time covered by the summonses -- a long period of time for anyone to be called upon to defend their behaviour," Mr Cole said.

He said there was no suggestion in the case of acts such as persistent phone calling or malicious letter writing.

The most recent relevant date was in 2009, he said.



Husband

State Solicitor Aisling Kelly said the alleged injured parties had been trying to deal with the matter without involving the gardai and only called them as a last resort in 2009.

"In August and September 2009 it got to the point where they decided, yes, this merits separate investigation," Ms Kelly said.

Gardai then took witness statements and invited the accused and her husband to make their own statements. A file was sent to the DPP's office in April 2010 and directions were received in June. Summonses were issued in the same month. Mr Cole then argued that a voluntary statement the defendant made at Celbridge Garda Station was inadmissible, saying the questions that were put to the accused were not recorded.

The court heard both the defendant and her solicitor signed the statement and Judge Murphy ruled it was admissible.

The case was adjourned until May.

hnews@herald.ie

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