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Moonlighting Cases in West Limerick |

Moonlighting Cases in West Limerick

At the Abbeyfeale Petty Sessions, after addressing the usual business, the court turned its attention to a series of moonlighting incidents. The individuals’ named Denis Cahill, James Hartnett, James Sullivan, and Francis Horgan of Cragg were brought before Magistrates James Wolfe Flanagan and W. L. Creagh Harnett on charges related to recent raids for arms in Tullig. They were also accused of disguising themselves, being armed, and intimidating Denis Lenihan and Timothy Cahill of Mountcollins, in connection with their dealings with Daniel Curtin. The courtroom was filled to capacity during the proceedings.

Daniel Leahy, Sr., served as the defence attorney for the accused. Mr Cruise, on behalf of the prosecution, requested the discharge of all individuals except Denis Cahill, who had been arrested that morning and could not be properly identified. Mr Flanagan concurred with the request, emphasizing that Denis Cahill’s involvement was solely related to the act of intimidation.

Mr Flanagan took the opportunity to address the farmers of the district who sought gun licenses, cautioning that engaging in such activities would lead to the denial of licenses. Denis Lenihan, a witness from Mount Collins, testified that on the night in question, he encountered two masked men armed with guns. When asked by Mr Cruise if he was blindfolded, Mr Leahy objected, but the witness affirmed that he was indeed blindfolded. The exchange prompted Mr Leahy to request that witnesses not be pointed out in such a manner.

Another witness, James Lenihan, corroborated his father’s testimony, stating that two armed men entered their house, while he saw the barrel of another gun outside. When Mr Leahy attempted to cross-examine the witness, Mr Flanagan reminded him that the witness was not considered hostile.

Miss Lizzie Cahill testified that she saw three men with blackened faces, one of whom carried a gun. They questioned her father about his communication with Mr Curtin. However, she confirmed that she had never seen the prisoner in their house. Timothy Cahill, another witness, described how one of the men pointed a gun at him. He managed to divert the barrel and retreat to another room. He emphasized that he did not know any of the individuals, and the prisoner had never been in his house.

Constable Lahiff provided details of the locations visited by the accused, marking them on maps presented in court. He discovered fresh footprints in the lane between Cahill and Lenihan’s houses the following day and remained there until casts of the footprints were taken. Mr Leahy attempted to make light of the situation by referencing Sherlock Holmes, but Mr Flanagan dismissed the remark.

Constable Costelloe testified that he took a cast of the footprints, and he was present during the prisoner’s arrest. He confiscated the boots worn by the accused, which were later identified by witnesses. Mr Leahy objected, arguing that the prisoner should not have made admissions while under arrest. However, the prosecution continued, pointing out that the accused had been observed putting on the boots on the morning of his arrest.

During cross-examination, Mr Leahy criticised the detective’s methods, prompting Mr Cruise to inquire if it was the detective’s first attempt at detective work. Mr Leahy’s comment was met with laughter, but Constable Lahiff affirmed that it was his first endeavour in such a role.

The proceedings shed light on the alleged moonlighting incidents in West Limerick, providing testimony from witnesses and officers involved in the investigation. The court was tasked with assessing the evidence presented and determining the next course of action in these cases.

Kerry News – Monday 04 April 1904

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