Farmer returned to prison after refusing to purge contempt

first_imgNewsLocal NewsFarmer returned to prison after refusing to purge contemptBy admin – February 20, 2012 1354 A COUNTY Limerick farmer has been returned to prison after he again refused to obey an order of the court, purge his contempt and stay away from a farm at Rathcahill, on which he had staked a claim. Daniel Doherty was before Judge Carroll Moran after he was brought from Limerick Prison, where he has spent almost seven months after refusing to obey a court order.  Mr Doherty has fought his claim to the 40 acre holding, and told the judge on each occasion he was brought to court that he would not “go against the wishes” of two bachelor brothers that died without leaving a will.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Having worked for the brothers on the farm for a number of years, Doherty claimed that he was promised the land by the two elderly men, a claim that was disputed.Counsel for the Roche family, executors of the estate, Emmet O’Brien, gave a chronological record of proceedings to date.In March 2010, Mr O’Brien said that an order of the Circuit Court was put in place and that later that year was upheld at the High Court, and that Daniel Doherty was to vacate the lands.Eamon Roche, nephew of the deceased brothers, was to take care of the land and appointed as the nominee on behalf of the Roche family.On July 28, 2011, Doherty was arrested at the Rathcahill lands by Sgt John Lynch, and the following day was brought before Judge Carroll Moran, who asked him to purge his contempt and obey the court order to vacate the land.  40-year-old Daniel Doherty, Rathcahill, Templeglantine, was remanded in custody for a week and returned to court seven days later.Again, he refused to purge his contempt, and Judge Carroll Moran sent him back to prison.Doherty was given “liberty to re-enter the matter at any time” should he wish to purge his contempt.Shortly after his court appearance at the beginning of August, 16 cattle owned by Doherty, were removed from the land under garda escort to a Doherty farm holding some six miles away.However, in the following days, five cattle made their way back to the disputed lands. Again, they were removed.  Mr O’Brien said that boulders were placed in front of the plaintiff’s gates and thus prevented access to the land, and supporters of the Doherty case were said to have been wearing balaclavas and watching the movements of the Roche family at the disputed Rathcahill farm.On September 1, Doherty, again refused to purge his contempt before Judge Carroll Moran, and repeatedly said that he did not want to go against Matt and Eddie’s wishes,” referencing that the two brothers wanted him there and wanted him to have the land.Supporters of Doherty, including his sister, Elizabeth Doherty, gave an interview to local radio during a protest outside the prison and stated that “people have to rise up for what is right” and that “she wanted the “record set straight”.  Protests in November and January were staged outside the prison, and Judge Carroll Moran was told of a social media facebook page that had been set up by the supporters of Doherty.“An innocent man ‘Daniel Doherty’ committed no crime. Free him now,” and other messages of support were referenced by counsel for the Roche family, and links to similarities of the Teresa Tracey case (she had a dispute with ESB over felling of trees on her land) to those of Doherty, were strongly refuted.A sign that was placed on the lands stating “Land Dispute Jailer Roches” was also shown to the court.Mr O’Brien said that the Roche family did not want to see Mr Doherty in jail, but they need him to obey the order of the court. The judge said that the issue of ownership had already been covered in previous court cases, and that the issue now was whether the 40-year-old farmer would promise to leave the lands.Judge Carroll Moran again spoke to Doherty, who was brought from prison for the proceedings, and asked would he purge his contempt.Doherty said that “Matt and Eddie brought me in,” adding that “they could have brought anyone in but the chose me.  “I’m in prison since July, and if I have to go back then it is the court’s wishes, but I’m not going against the wishes of Matt and Eddie.Judge Carroll Moran said, “you have to obey the orders of the court, there would be chaos in the country if people didn’t obey the courts”.He added: “I have no choice… the “committal order must continue”.Doherty was told that “the minute you wish to purge your contempt and obey the court order, come back and you will be released immediately”.Doherty was returned to prison, and Judge Carroll Moran said that he will remain there indefinitely.Judge Carroll Moran gave liberty to the Roche famiy to remove cars and vehicles owned by Daniel Doherty, to Abbeyfeale Garda Station for safe keeping.After the proceedings, Michael O’Donnell, solicitor for the Roche family, said that they did not wish to see Daniel Doherty in jail, and the value of the lands and the estate is diminishing due to litigation fees, and only “sporadic work could be carried out on the land”.Denis Doherty, brother of the imprisoned farmer, said that the family “supports Daniel in what he wants”. 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