November 8, 2013
Guilty: William McGeehan

Guilty: William McGeehan

A FARMER involved in an ‘appalling’ attack on his own brother which left another man in hospital has been given a suspended jail sentence – and banned from speaking to his brother until November 2016.

William McGeehan set upon his own brother John and John’s friend Connie Gallagher in a vicious attack, hitting both of them so hard with a plank of wood they both needed hospital treatment.

Mr Gallagher received a 12cm gash to his head when a nail in the wood cut him, leaving him in hospital for four days – and with a scar for life.

Garda Enda Glennon told Judge John O’Hagan at Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court that the row was part of a family dispute over land.

A civil case had settled who had owned what in Newmills, a settlement over which Judge O’Hagan had presided.

But William McGeehan had continued a feud; and had been convicted earlier this year in the District Court of spitting on two young boys – his own nephews – as part of that.

This week’s case was over an incident in May 2011.

William McGeehan had claimed John had accused him of sheep stealing, a claim John had denied.

William had followed John and Mr Gallagher, jumped over a gate and attacked them.

When he was questioned he claimed Mr Gallagher had received his horrendous injuries because had slipped and fallen.

William later admitted two counts of assault and pleaded guilty in court.

However John told Judge O’Hagan the harassment was continuing on a daily basis.

“He’s always about,”  said John McGeehan, claiming William was continuing to harass family, friends and neighbours calling to his farm.

Mr Gallagher showed the judge his scar.

“It’s horrendous,” said the judge.

“A cracked skull because of a row over a sheep. This could have been a lot worse; what if this attack had been fatal? Where would we be then?

“Mr Gallagher is lucky to be alive.”

William McGeehan apologised to his brother and Mr Gallagher in court.

But the judge said it was clear William McGeehan was still pestering his brother and his family and friends.

He said he would not use two possible sentences available to him – jail or community service because William McGeehan would serve either sentence and he would be back harassing his own brother.

So he said he was imposing a three year jail term and he would suspend it for three years.

He ordered William McGeehan to sign a peace bond for the next three years in which he was told not to talk to, watch, beset or interfere with John McGeehan, his family, his friends or anyone visiting John McGeehan.