Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court

  • A jury at the Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court has found a 49-year-old man not guilty on three counts of threatening to kill a Galway businessman on dates between 1 January 2012 and 28 February 2014.

    David Corbett, with an address at St Clerans, Craughwell, Co Galway, was also cleared on a fourth count of harassing Ian Quinn in the Craughwell area on dates between 2012 and  2015.

    During the two week trial, the court heard about escalating disagreements between the two men that culminated in a Garda investigation in 2015.

    The dispute centred around boundaries and access routes to St Clerans, a Georgian manor in Craughwell.

    Mr Quinn, the founder of medical devices firm Creganna, purchased the property as a family home in 2012.

    Mr Corbett lives on land adjoining the property, while his mother also owns a separate house nearby.

    Matters came to a head after a private security firm, Risk Management International (RMI), was employed by Ian Quinn.

    It carried out an investigation, interviewed witnesses and presented its findings to Garda Superintendent Kevin Gately in August 2015.

    The court heard how three witnesses gave evidence that Mr Corbett had made statements to them which led them to believe that he intended to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Quinn.

    After the verdict of was delivered,  Mr Corbett thanked the jury for finding him not guilty on all four counts and said he was relieved at the outcome.


  • A Ballycastle woman was convicted by a jury at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar today  of careless driving causing the death of a cyclist.

     Nuala Delaney Whelan of Ballyknock, Ballycastle, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of careless driving causing the death of fifty-three-year old Patrick McHale, Knockanillaun, Ballina.

     Mr. McHale died at Mayo University Hospital on May 30, 2017, two days after he sustained head and spinal injuries when Ms Delaney Whelan's car struck his bicycle.

     The collision occured at Rathroeena on the R314 Ballina to Killala Road.

     Ms Delaney Whelan was travelling with her mother towards Killala - the same direction as the deceased - when the impact occurred.

     After a trial lasting a number of days, a jury today returned  a guilty verdict.

     Judge Rory MacCabe put back sentencing until tomorrow week (Friday, February 15).

    Ms Delaney Whelan was remanded on bail until the sentencing hearing.


  • A 76 year-old man who sexually molested seven girls aged between 7 and 12 over a seven year period was sentenced to a total of three years in prison at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court today .

    Patrick Reilly, Shanaghy, Belmullet, Co. Mayo, was described by one of his victims, in victim impact statements read to the court, as “an evil monster who destroyed my childhood”.

    Judge Sean O’Donnabhain lifted reporting restrictions to allow for the publication in the media of the name of the accused.

    However, he barred publication of the victims’ names or any details of the court case which might lead to the identification of any of the victims.

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    A 60 year-old man who systematically sexually abused two of his young daughters - as well as another minor - over a prolonged period - was jailed for eight years today.

    The daughters waived their rights to anonymity in the case so that their abuser, John Murphy, formerly of Nephin View Manor, Foxford, Co. Mayo, could be named.

    Both Stephanie Prendergast and her sister, Michaela Murphy, told Judge Rory MacCabe in victim impact statements read to the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar, they were going public in order to show other victims of sex abuse they are not alone and to encourage them to come forward.

    The accused, a former member of the Irish Defence Forces is currently serving a prison sentence at Arbour Hill for a previous sexual assault on a female.

    He is originallly from Bonniconlon, Ballina.

    Last month he pleaded guilty to 20 counts of sexually assaulting his three victims at addresses in Foxford and in Galway City between 1992 and 2013.

    Garda Thomasina McHale told today's sentencing hearing that Stephanie Prendergast's first memory of being abused by her father was at the age of four when the family lived in Rahoon, Galway.

    Garda McHale said that Stephanie disclosed that she was sexually assaulted by her father between the ages of 4 and 12, between 1992 and 2000, at four different locations. 

    The garda said that Michaela Murphy was also subjected to sexual assaults over a lengthy period as was another girl, the third complainant in the case, who does not wish to be identified. 

    In her victim impact statement read to today's hearing, Stephanie Prendergast said that sex assaults on her by her father during her childhood were so frequent that it seemed to her such acts must be normal, that it happened in every child's home. 

    Stephanie's sister, Michaela, told the court she was going public because she did not anyone else to endure what she and her sister had gone through. 

    Before imposing prison sentences totalling eight years, Judge MacCabe said the gravity of the offences were aggravated by a number of factors including the ages of the victims, their relationship to the accused,and their vulnerability and innocence.

    The judge commented that the impact on the families involved had been 'cataclysmic'.
    It was difficult, Judge MacCabe continued, to see how the victims could not be left without indelible scars as a result of their childhoods being damaged in so many ways. 

    Finally, the judge asked, how was the abuse allowed continue,?

    Surely, he remarked, people had to have noticed.
     Perhaps, Judge MacCabe added, many people ought to examine their consciences in this regard.
    The accused, the judge continued,, is a paedophile, a serial sex abuser, and there is nothing to suggest that he doesn't remain a danger to the public regardless of his age or medical condition.

    Today's court was told by defence counsel Diarmuid Connolly that Murphy will be appearing before the Central Criminal Cout later this year on a separate charge to which he will be pleading guillty.

  • A man said to be the 'gardener' in a major cannabis growhouse operation uncovered by Mayo Gardai appeared before Judge Rory MacCabe at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar yesterday.

    Richardas Selinis, a Lithuanian national, pleaded guilty at an earlier court sitting to cultivating cannabis – with a street value of €47,214 – in a rented house at Cloggernagh West, Glenhest, near Newport on July 20 last.

    Mr. Selinis has been in custody since last July, following his arrest by members of the Divisional Drugs Unit.

    At yesterday's sentencing hearing, evidence was given that the defendant has previous convictions for drug offences in the U.K and Germany but the amount of drugs involved was small.

    Defence counsel, Diarmuid Connolly said that Selinis was what he described as 'a gardener' – the 'lowest rung' in a growhouse operation.

    The court was told the defendant was remorseful and had co-operated with Gardai.

    Judge MacCabe commented that the potential value of the drugs was 'substantial' and the defendant's previous criminal record suggested a long-standing involvement with drugs.

    The judge imposed a two year prison sentence backdated to July 27 last when Selvinis was taken into custody. He suspended the balance of that sentence for five years.

    The judge made a destruction order for the drugs seized.