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Man who assaulted neighbour over drainage dispute conditionally discharged

Defendant grabbed a shovel from the injured party's hands before throwing it into the yard and damaging the finish on the concrete he had been laying

A Markethill man who assaulted his neighbour in a dispute over drainage has been conditionally discharged for a period of two years.

The 47-year-old was also ordered to pay compensation of £360 to the injured party, as he also caused damage to the finish of cement they had been laying.

Stephen William Hyde, of Gosford Gardens, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and common assault at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined how at around 4pm on July 16, the injured party had been laying concrete at the rear of his property at Gosford Gardens, Markethill.

He was approached by the defendant, his neighbour, who proceeded to stand on the wet concrete.

Hyde then grabbed a shovel from the injured party’s hands before throwing it into the yard damaging the finish on the concrete, with damage estimated at £160.

The injured party claimed the defendant then raised his hands as if to strike, at which point he called the police.

When questioned by police, Hyde accepted committing the criminal damage but denied assaulting his neighbour.

Prosecution stated that a restraining order was being sought, with the injured party describing ongoing issues with the defendant.

She said: “He no longer lives at the address but he does rent it out…he claims the injured party on one occasion swung his car door open at him as he passed and complained about the tenants making noise.”

Defence counsel objected to the making of a restraining order, stating that Hyde denied these further allegations and described the matter before the court as a “one-off incident”.

She stated that it was a “civil matter” relating to the placing of the concrete and to how it would affect drainage which led to the incident.

The legal representative added that Hyde had a gap in his record, other than a conviction for criminal damage, dating back to 2012 and commented that the injured party no longer lived next to him.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ivers stated: “Mr Hyde, you have pleaded guilty but only in advance of a contest. I am concerned that you have let it get this far before acknowledging your wrongdoing.

“I do have concerns about your future relationship with this man…but I have been persuaded that a restraining order is not an appropriate part of the sentencing.”

Hyde was handed a conditional discharge for two yeas and was ordered to pay total compensation of £360 to the injured party.

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