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prison term Man (31) who drove car into family home like ‘battering ram’ causing €50k damage appeals conviction

William Harty (31) was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by Judge Cormac Quinn

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A father of four turned his car into a “battering ram” when he deliberately crashed the vehicle into the front of the family home while his wife and young children were inside, the Court of Appeal was told. 

The court was also told William Harty (31) had caused more than €50,000 worth of damage when he ploughed his car into the house at Kilmanagh, Co Kilkenny.

Harty had pleaded not guilty to endangerment and criminal damage at his home address during the early hours of January 22, 2020.

A jury, however, found him guilty of the charges following the trial at Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court and he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by Judge Cormac Quinn.

He later launched an appeal against the conviction, with his lawyers arguing that evidence from a 999 call made by his wife should not have been presented to the jury.

At the Court of Appeal, Kathleen Leader SC said the contents 999 call were not “real evidence” and should be regarded as hearsay.

Ms Leader also said that a comparison of garda photographs of the damage to the house taken shortly after the incident with photographs taken hours later clearly indicated the crime scene had not been preserved.

Garret Baker BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, argued that while there might have been some “evidential infirmity” in the case this had not “had any practical effect on the outcome”.

Mr Baker also said that the statement Ms Harty later gave to gardai “in broad terms mirrored” the 999 call.

The appellant, counsel continued, had later expressed his remorse for using his car as a “mechanically powered battering ram” against the family home while his children – all of whom were under eight years of age at the time – were inside with their mother.

After hearing submissions, Mr Justice George Birmingham, presiding, said today that the court was reserving judgement.

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