herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Neighbours in squabble over hedge ends in court

ROW: 'Water thrown as I used electric strimmer', judge told

A MOTHER-of-two has been cleared of throwing a bucket of water over her neighbour while he was using an electric strimmer to cut their communal hedge, which the families are at war over.

Helen Kinsella (41) admitted she threw the water, but claimed she threw it away from her neighbour, Gerard Collins, and at the hedge, soaking herself in the process.

She denied assaulting Mr Collins with the bucket of water, saying there was only "about two inches" of water in it, and in any case, she's left-handed and not good at throwing.

Mr Collins claimed he was holding an electrical strimmer and cutting the hedge when Ms Kinsella threw the water at him, hitting him in the chest, and wetting his T-shirt.

He claimed the assault was "an alarming turn of events" in their ongoing dispute over the hedge.

Dun Laoghaire District Court heard that Ms Kinsella and her husband, Kieran Kelly, and Mr Collins and his wife, Anne, had been fighting over the height of the hedge, which sits on the boundary of their front gardens, for nearly a decade.

The Collins want the hedge maintained at four feet, as any taller and it blocks the light in their sitting room.

Their neighbours want to protect their privacy, so they keep their side of the hedge -- which is about four-feet wide -- at eight feet.

A judge said the matter was "a load of nonsense".

Dismissing the charge, Judge John Lindsay told the feuding couples to "cop on to themselves" and to "learn to live beside each other".

Ms Kinsella had denied assaulting her next-door neighbour, Gerard Collins, in an incident at their homes at Heather Close, Ballinteer on July 18, 2008.

Mr Collins claimed he wrote to Ms Kinsella and Mr Kelly on numerous occasions trying to get agreement for the height of the hedge, which was originally planted 25 years ago by his wife Anne.

He said the couple never responded, so he decided to cut the hedge, which had grown to about eight feet.

As he was cutting the hedge, the couple came out of their house, started shouting at him, and Mr Kelly began to videotape him.

Mr Collins claimed Ms Kinsella then got a saucepan of water and threw it over him. He claimed she got a second saucepan of water, and threw it at him again.

In cross examination, he denied jeering at her when she soaked herself, not him, with the water, and denied he said "you're nothing but a f**king eejit, you can't even get that right".

Ms Kinsella said her children were upset at the noise of the strimmer, so she politely asked Mr Collins to stop cutting the hedge. She said she threw the water at the hedge because she thought that if the hedge was wet he would have to stop cutting it.

Judge Lindsay said he did thought the matter was sad, and the couples needed to sort out their differences. He dismissed the charge.

hnews@herald.ie

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