A COUNTY Galway man who admitted entering the grounds of the former Two Mile Inn because he was ‘nosey’ was acquitted of criminal charges.
Neil Hopwood, aged 49, of Tonranny, Gort denied trespassing at the derelict site with the intention of commit an offence on August 7, last.
During a contested hearing, Judge Marian O’Leary was told gardai were alerted at around 5.30pm by the caretaker of the site after he was informed by GGL Security about the presence of an intruder.
Detective Garda Kieran Crowley said when he responded a short time later he noticed the defendant’s van parked in the car park and that he later encountered Mr Hopwood as he was searching the property.
He spoke to the defendant, who confirmed his identity and informed him he was having a look around as he was nosey.
“I was just being curious and nosey,” he said in his direct evidence adding that he used to eat at the Two Mile Inn when it was operating in the past.
Mr Hopwood said a security fence at the rear of the site was down on the date of the alleged offence and he insisted that he did not take anything or cause any damage while he was there.
“I accept I shouldn’t have been there but I just started looking around,” he said.
A formal complaint was received ten days later and CCTV footage of the incident was secured and an investigation launched.
While the court was told there is an audio warning and siren system in operation at the site, there was no evidence during the hearing that such a warning was issued after the defendant had entered on the day in question.
“I don’t know if an audio warning was given, I wasn’t there,” said Jim Ryan, who is the caretaker.
Following submissions from solicitor Ted McCarthy, Judge Marian O’Leary Dismissed the charge saying she was not satisfied the State had reached the necessary threshold to prove that Mr Hopwood had intended to commit and offence.