Land row was ‘much ado about nothing’

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Londonderry District Judge Barney McElholm has told the family of a 67-year-old man who ‘push punched’ his sister in the shoulder after an argument about land, that they need to take a step back and think about their lives.

Mr McElholm made the comments when convicting Robert Donnelly of Ardkill Road, of assault and giving him a six-month conditional discharge.

In evidence Jennifer McGlynn, the injured party, said on December 23, 2015 she had gone to visit her mother and her brother asked her about an incident between her husband John and her other brother, Gregory, which had occurred earlier in the day.

She said her brother Robert confronted her and shouted, and his arm was bent and his fist was getting whiter. She said there has been a dispute in the family about the house she has lived in for 24 years and said Robert had said he would “get him (her husband, John) out by January 31”. She said she felt intimidated and scared and rang for her sons to come.

Upon their arrival, she said Robert lifted his hand and punched her in the shoulder, her sons each took one of Robert’s arms and he fell back on the settee.

Giving evidence Robert Donnelly said he I told the boys that he wanted their father out or I was going to the police.

The court heard the family had been at loggerheads since June 2013. He denied assault.

District Judge Barney McElholm said it was very tragic and there were inconsistences on both sides.

“Everyone needs to take a step back and think about their lives.”