At Kilrush District Court, Judge Mary Larkin described the conduct of Denis Waters (53) and his son Brian Waters (25), both with an address at Lacken, Kilmihil, Co Clare, as “unbelievable”.
Judge Larkin stated: "If it was the Wild West you would say something, but this is supposed to be a civilised country.”
Solicitor for Denis Waters, Patrick Moylan, said that “chaos” unfolded after Brian Waters looked out at around 1.30am on October 26, 2021, to see gardaí pursue his father into the farmyard at Derreen, Tullycrine, near Kilrush, Co Clare.
Solicitor for Brian Waters, John Casey, said that “out of nothing, all hell broke loose” in the farmyard as his client was helping a cow to calve at the time when Denis Waters and gardaí entered the yard.
Mr Moylan said that Denis Waters had earlier driven to the local pub “to have a few drinks” and he got a call to return home as Brian was having trouble with a cow calving.
The cow was in difficulty and he left the pub to get into the car to return home to help Brian with the cow.
Mr Moylan said that Denis Waters had arranged to get a lift home from the pub before getting the call from Brian.
Sergeant Louis Moloney said that Denis Waters had taken off at speed from the pub at Tullycrine in the direction of Kilrush. He added that the Garda patrol car activated the blue lights and siren but Mr Waters failed to stop.
Sgt Moloney said that Mr Waters took a right turn to a farmhouse and gardaí wanted to arrest him on suspicion of drink driving. Both cars arrived at the farmyard.
However, gardaí were prevented from arresting Denis Waters when he picked up the calving jack – an implement used to help deliver calves – in the farmyard and started to swing it and it came close to Garda Gerard Summerly's head.
Sgt Moloney said that Gda Summerly was pushed back by Brian Waters on numerous occasions. Brian Waters went to a shed and picked up a pitchfork and told Gda Summerly: “I am going to give it to you.”
The sergeant stated that while Brian Waters “was prodding the pitchfork forward, Gda Summerly had no option but to deploy his OC (pepper) spray in a bid to protect himself”.
Sgt Moloney said that gardaí from Ennis and Kilrush came to the scene. He added that Denis Waters made his escape into the fields behind the farmyard. The following morning, Denis Waters presented himself to the local superintendent.
Judge Larkin imposed a six-year driving ban on Denis Waters after he pleaded guilty to driving without insurance. A four-year driving ban was also imposed for dangerous driving, along with fines totalling €800.
Judge Larkin said: “Denis Waters should not have been driving. He should not have been driving without insurance and probably not drink driving.”
She adjourned sentencing of Brian Waters for the completion of a probation report to see if he is suitable for a community service order.
Brian Waters pleaded guilty to producing a pitchfork during the course of a dispute and obstructing a garda during the course of his duties.
Judge Larkin also ordered that a probation report be carried out on Denis Waters concerning his obstruction offence and adjourned all remaining cases to October.
Mr Casey said that Brian Waters works as a mechanic but helps with the farm before and after work.
He said: “They have a suckler herd which is very much hands-on and needs 24-hour attention at certain parts of the year. Brian reacted very badly to the situation."
Mr Casey said that Brian has no previous convictions while Sgt Moloney said Denis Waters has a conviction for drink driving and driving without insurance.
Mr Moylan said that Denis Waters, a father of three adult children, is very upset at what he has put his son through.
He added that, when Denis Waters presented himself to the local superintendent, the superintendent agreed that what happened was totally out of character.