A WOMAN who was accused of damaging her neighbour’s timber fence by hitting it with a brush was acquitted of criminal charges writes David Hurley.
Breda Frahill, aged 64, of Lower Carey’s Road was prosecuted and brought before Limerick District Court in relation to an incident in the early hours of July 19, 2014.
At the outset, solicitor Kieran O’Donovan sought the exclusion of CCTV footage from a camera which is mounted on the back wall of the alleged injured party’s home.
He said the footage, which was disclosed ahead of the hearing, represented a “serious and disproportionate” breach of his client’s privacy and he submitted it was in breach of the Data Protection Act.
While Judge Mary Larkin said she was not making a formal ruling, she commented that the footage did appear to be an invasion of Ms Frahill’s privacy.
In her evidence, Áine Healy said there had been a verbal altercation between her husband and their neighbours the previous afternoon. The court was told he had shouted at Ms Frahill’s grandchildren who were hitting a ball off the fence, which separates the two back gardens.
Ms Healy said they discovered a slat had been knocked out of the fence the following morning and identified Ms Frahill as a suspect having viewed footage from their own CCTV system.
In the footage, which played in court, Ms Frahill can be seen smoking a cigarette outside her back door at around 1.30am.
After sweeping the back yard, she can then be seen walking towards the dividing fence and swinging a sweeping brush up and down.
While the timber fence can be seen moving, the court heard defendant denied hitting the fence when interviewed by gardai.
She said she had banged the brush off a low wall on her side of the timber fence, and it was submitted by Mr O’Donovan that the movement “could have been generated by the breeze from the brush”.
Judge Larkin commented that the behaviour of both parties was “highly unneighbourly” but she said she was not satisfied with the evidence and dismissed the charge.