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A Very Serious Case of Assault At Croom |

A Very Serious Case of Assault At Croom

At the Limerick Assizes, Michael McLaughlin was indicted for assaulting Andrew Moore on February 11th, 1904. Mr Phelps, instructed by Mr Bloom, appeared as the defence counsel, and the defendant pleaded not guilty.

Mr Phelps presented the defence’s case, stating that the defendant lived in Cork and worked as a plasterer. On the day in question, Moore left Patrickswell around 2:30 pm and was heading towards Croom. At around 5 o’clock, he arrived at the defendant’s house, which was off the road. He knocked on the door and asked to see “Mrs.” Then, he approached a wire paling where he saw the defendant and two others working. The defendant asked, “What’s up? You can’t get through there!” Moore asked him to show him the gate, and the defendant replied that he would soon show it to him. The defendant went into his house and came out with a loaded revolver. Moore walked down the avenue, and the defendant fired a shot. Moore then ran as fast as he could, and the defendant fired a second shot, with the bullet narrowly missing him. As Moore was going out onto the road, the defendant chased after him, put the revolver up to his mouth, and threatened to shoot unless Moore went down on his knees and begged for forgiveness. The defendant then walked away.

During cross-examination by Mr Callinan, Moore denied using offensive language towards the defendant, threatening him with a knife, or revealing a hidden weapon from under his coat.

Sergeant Patrick Scully testified that he arrested the defendant, who handed over a loaded revolver. Three chambers of the revolver appeared to have been recently discharged. The defendant told the sergeant that he saw a tramp approaching the paling and called on him not to break through the wires but to come down towards the gate. The man used insulting language and drew a knife-like object, which led the defendant to fire three shots into the air to frighten him.

Patrick Punch, who was working with McLaughlin, corroborated the defendant’s statement. He claimed that Moore approached the wire paling in a staggering manner, used insulting language, persisted in going towards the wire, and asked the defendant, “Are you a fighting man?” McLaughlin asked him, “What is it you are pulling out of your pocket?”

Another witness provided similar testimony.

Mr Phelps addressed the jury, stating that the defendant held a position of trust as a caretaker of other people’s property. He argued that the defendant had no intention of causing harm but merely fired the shots into the air to frighten Moore.

The Lord Chief Baron, in his address to the jury, highlighted the danger of using a revolver but expressed his belief that the defendant did not intend to harm Moore. If the jury found the defendant guilty, he did not intend to impose any punishment but would direct the defendant to stand out on bail and appear for judgment when called upon.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty of common assault, and the Lord Chief Baron made the order as stated.

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 08 March 1904

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