A FORMER soldier and debt collector was convicted of assaulting a Straide man after he headbutted him while attempted to repossess a Toyota van for ACC Bank. Sentencing will take place on July 27.
Aidan Faulkner (52) of Crow’s Nest, Castlecohill, Clogherhead, Co Louth was also convicted of trespassing on the property of Patrick Ruane of Knockshanvalley Lodge, Straide, Foxford whom he assaulted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
Judge Mary Devins told last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court that Mr Faulkner had no authority to be on the property after he had been asked to leave and found that the letter prepared by ACC to repossess the vehicle was ‘utterly meaningless’.
Mr Faulkner, a former Asset Recovery Agent for Auto Trace Solutions had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and had claimed he was assaulted by Mr Ruane but no prosecution was brought against him.
Evidence in the case had been heard last summer when it was revealed that the defendant was sent by ACC to repossess Mr Ruane’s Toyota Hiace van which was on hire purchase from the bank. Mr Ruane admitted missed the last three repayments, amounting to €843. The total loan taken out was €17,900.
The court heard that when Mr Ruane arrived at his house at 8.20am, the defendant was waiting for him. Mr Ruane claimed he asked him at least 50 times to get off his property and when he refused a scuffle ensued where Mr Faulkner caught him by his tie, pushed him into the yard and head-butted him. The incident was caught on CCTV.
The headbutt left Mr Ruane with a broken nose, a split lip and loosened some of his teeth.
Superintendent Peter Boyle said it was clear from the CCTV that an assault took place and that he was trespassing once Mr Ruane asked him to leave. He said if the property was to be repossessed he should have gone to court instead of pursuing in the action on the day.
Mr Myles Gilvarry, solicitor for Mr Faulkner, said there were ‘two actors in this drama’ and that his client had received documentation from his employee and had a job to do.
Commenting on the letter sent by ACC to Mr Ruane, Judge Devins said it was meaningless and a ‘nonsense in terms of english and the law’.
On the issue of trespassing she said that Mr Faulkner may have had ‘reasonable excuse’ to be there but that was removed when Mr Ruane arrived. She said he was most definitely a trespasser and did so in a way to cause fear.
Mr Gilvarry said his client was no longer employed since the company went into liquidation 18 months ago and had two children. He said he served in the army but did not receive a pension.