A Cork County Councillor has been found guilty of assaulting his brother and nephew.
Frank Roche, 58, who represents Fermoy Municipal District on Cork County Council as an independent councillor, appeared before Fermoy District Court today where he was found guilty of assaulting his brother David Roche, and nephew Colm Roche, at Ballyadeen, Castletownroche, on 18 January 2020.
Frank Roche was also found guilty of threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour in a public place, at the same location and on the same date.
The court was told that there is a long running, acrimonious dispute between Frank Roche and his two brothers over his father's will in which the father left the family farm to his two brothers.
David Roche told the court that on the day in question he and his son Colm drove to their farm at Ballyadeen to pay a contractor for work he was doing.
At the entrance, they came upon a silver four-wheel-drive vehicle. Mr Roche asked the driver if he could help him, but he said the driver just stared at him "menacingly".
Before he knew it, he said his brother Frank Roche came running up to the passenger window of his jeep and started attacking his son.
Colm Roche, 21, told the court that his uncle grabbed him in a head lock and tried to pull him out of the jeep window. When he failed, he started punching him. When his father ran around to stop his brother, Frank Roche started throwing punches at him and ripped his jumper.
The court was shown a 40 second video clip filmed by Colm Roche on his mobile phone which showed his uncle shouting at them before heading off.
In it, Frank Roche could be heard using 'choice language' such as "lousy b******s, you will rot in f**king hell", which he later apologised in court for.
Defence Barrister Alan O'Dwyer questioned David Roche's recollection of the events saying he and his son sounded very calm in the video given they were allegedly victims of an assault.
David Roche said he tries to deal with everyone in his life in a respectful way. He did not use bad language, he asked them to move on.
"Did you not listen to the trepidation in my voice?", he asked Mr O'Dwyer.
Frank Roche told the court that his brother and nephew's evidence was totally untrue, that no assaults happened.
He said he had spotted an orange wrench on the road which he had stopped to pick up and his brother, he claimed, "drove at high speed at me".
"I know they have a habit of trying to bring down my character. I absolutely didn't reach in the window. Didn't throw punches. Colm was filming me. I was in shock when he was filming me, I did say what is on the film."
Inspector Tony O'Sullivan asked him if he was saying "the true story is that he stopped to pick up an orange wrench and your brother decided to run at you?"
Frank Roche replied: "100%".
The court was told that when asked for a statement in February 2020, Frank Roche had told gardaí he "most certainly did not want to make a statement".
Inspector O'Sullivan said if it had happened as he told it, why didn't he give a statement to gardaí when asked?
The court also heard that the two men with Frank Roche had declined to give statements to investigating gardaí.
Finding Frank Roche guilty on all three counts, Judge Alec Gabbett said the case was a "classic family dispute". He said this needs to be addressed.
"We have people who could ultimately hurt each other, and I have to be very mindful of this."
Inspector O'Sullivan told the court that Frank Roche had 19 previous convictions, 16 of which were for road traffic offences, and three were Section 2 assault convictions.
Judge Gabbett adjourned sentencing until 28 January 2022 for a probation report and David Roche's victim impact statement.