Judge strikes out case amid Lifford family feud

A JUDGE dismissed a case against a Lifford man citing the judicial process was not the appropriate platform to deal with a family rift.
Christopher Gallagher (61), of Post Office Terrace, Lifford, pleaded not guilty to burglary and criminal damage at Letterkenny District Court today.
The alleged incident took place at 1 Post Office Lane, Lifford, on June 17, 2019.
Giving evidence, Gallagher’s sister, Celine Gallagher said she is the owner of 1 Post Office Lane. Now living in New York, Ms Gallagher said she used to come home every year prior to the death of her father in 2008, but no longer comes home as her family are estranged.
She told the court two popcorn carts and a small plane were stolen from a garage shed at the property. She said she was paying an ex-tenant to take care of the house  in her absence. She denied she gave permission for either of the popcorn carts or the small plane to be removed. The property had been in Ms Gallagher’s shed for 30 years and ownership was disputed, the court heard.
“I got a text from Christopher to say he took the carts and small plane. I didn’t text him back,” she said in evidence.
Defendant’s solicitor, Michael Shiel said: “You didn’t dispute ownership because you knew the carts were his in the first place.”
Mr Shiel argued that the carts were given to his client by his father and were in his home for two years before they went to 1 Post Office Lane.
This was disputed by Ms Gallagher, who said: “My father told me he bought the carts  in Belfast and sold them to my late brother Francis.”
Mr Shiel put it to Ms Gallagher that his client had to break the lock because she was stealing his property.
“You didn’t dispute ownership because you knew the carts were his in the first place.”
Judge Raymond Finnegan decided to strike out the case.
“It strikes me that the State is involved in a family feud and this is not the forum for that. I don’t see that it can be proved that the property belonged to you other than it was in the shed.”

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