Wig-wearing neighbour leaned over wall and cut down shrubs –
21st October 2022
A MAN leaned over his neighbour’s back wall and cut down her mature and “irreplaceable” garden hedge in a row about overhanging shrubs, a court heard.
Sean Gormley (54) had denied a charge of criminal damage, claiming the shrubs were overhanging “20cm at least” into his garden and he only cut them back to the boundary wall.
His next-door neighbour further claimed that Gormley had tried to disguise himself with a wig when he cut down the shrubs.
Judge Dermot Dempsey imposed a four-month sentence which he suspended for two years.
The defendant, with an address at Oakwood Avenue in Swords, was found guilty of criminal damage on March 15, 2020.
His neighbour told Swords District Court she was at home around lunch-time.
She was upstairs with her elderly mother and when she looked out the window she saw Gormley with a large saw and hedge cutters.
Gormley was leaning over the boundary wall into her property and he sawing down the shrubs in her garden, she said.
The shrubs had been planted more than 40 years ago, and some of them were severely damaged by Gormley.
They were mature shrubs and it would cost more than €1,000 to replace them, but the shrubs really were irreplaceable, the witness said.
She said she took pictures of Gormley cutting down the shrubs. He was wearing a wig or a hat on his head, and she recognised it because he had been wearing it for a number of weeks before this incident.
Garda Shane McGuinn produced the pictures to the court.
In his evidence, Gormley claimed the shrubs had been overhanging onto his property for a considerable period of time. He said he decided to cut them back, and he took about 20cm off the shrubs.
Gormley said he was wearing a hat at the time to keep his head warm and there was absolutely no attempt to disguise himself.
Asked if he had complained to his neighbour about shrubs overhanging onto his property he said he had “tried to have a conversation many years ago and got no reply”.
Finding him guilty of criminal damage, Judge Dempsey said he did not accept a word Gormley had told him.