THE older brother of Bernard McGovern has been fined and placed under a Restraining Order for offences against members of the Lunney family, which occurred in the aftermath of a sentencing at Cavan Circuit Court.
Patrick McGovern (30) from Springdale Road, Kinawley committed the offences on the day his brother was jailed almost a year ago for attacking Mannok directors Kevin Lunney and Dara O’Reilly in 2019.
He accepted causing damage to a door belong to Gareth Lunney, nephew of one the Mannok directors as well as assaulting him and his father Peter Lunney. However, McGovern denied threating to kill either of them during the “heightened” incident on March 19 2021.
During a contested hearing at Enniskillen Magistrates Court it was accepted McGovern was extremely upset by the extent of the sentence handed down to his brother and had gone to Gareth Lunney’s and damaged the door. However issues arose over Gareth Lunney’s evidence when it emerged he had misled the court in respect of how the damage was caused and the cost of repairs.
He claimed to have told a repairs contractor in Belcoo a forklift had driven into the door and he needed an invoice to present to insurers.
The contractor provided a quote for repairs which Mr Lunney advised the court had been carried out and paid for in full at a cost of £500.
He produced a document to this effect in court however this was challenged by the defence who put it Mr Lunney he was lying under oath.
In fact a witness statement provided by the contractor and corroborated by police, detailed how Mr Lunney contacted him on March 23 2021 and asked him to attend to the repairs.
When the contractor said he didn’t have time, Mr Lunney asked him to provide a blank invoice, but this was refused.
During a robust cross-examination Mr Lunney eventually accepted the repairs were never carried out and the £500 invoice was fraudulent.
This mounted to giving false evidence under oath in court. In addition, it emerged the cost of repairs was actually £98.
Mr Lunney continued to assert he had been threatened by McGovern who had also shouted verbal abuse.
With his evidence completed Mr Lunney stepped down from the witness box at which point District Judge Steven Keown voiced, “Real concerns on this evidence. I’m not satisfied the charge of threats to kill is made out.
“The situation is Mr Lunney gave evidence under oath today in which he accepts telling lies in respect of the aftermath of the incident. That charge is dismissed.”
Giving evidence on his own behalf McGovern accepted being upset on the day in question because of his brother’s sentencing and fully admitted going to the premises and damaging the door.
He further accepted assaulting Gareth Lunney and his father Peter who arrived at the scene in his car, however was adamant he had not threatened to kill either of them.
The upset was compounded by an allegation members of the Lunney family used his brother Bernard when he was a young person to take part in acts of criminality on their behalf, although Judge Keown stepped in advising McGovern to keep his evidence “on track”.
Defence counsel told the court McGovern had been extremely distressed over the sentence imposed on his younger brother that day and accepted going to the Lunney property.
“This has been a blot on my client’s copy book and it’s not something he plans on repeating,” said the defence.
Judge Keown remarked, “The court has real concerns over the behaviour of Patrick McGovern on the day in question, which goes without saying.
“I have dismissed the charge of threatening to kill Gareth Lunney due to obvious concerns. In relation to Peter Lunney it is effectively one word against the other, but it is clear there were a number of witnesses within earshot, who were in a position to hear what was said.
“None of them are before the court. While there are concerns, the lack of evidence and the particular set of circumstances leads me to have some doubt about exactly what was said in the heightened situation.
“That being the case the doubt must fall in favour of the defendant, so I dismiss the second threat to kill charge.”
Combined with the criminal damage charge, McGovern was fined a total of £500 along with £98 compensation for the cost to repair the door.
He also placed McGovern under a two-year Restraining Order prohibiting him from “entering the curtilage of any premises” where Peter Lunney, his wife Rita and their son Gareth Lunney reside or work.
A PSNI spokesperson has since advised while no arrest was made at Enniskillen Courthouse on Monday, “A 35-year-old man was cautioned on suspicion of perjury. As this is an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
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