Gardaí unable to locate Kerry farmer in missing cattle case

John C Casey (60) and his son John Casey jnr (37) steadfastly refused to co-operate with officials, court told

John C Casey (60) of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry pictured leaving Killarney District Court last April after pleading guilty to 14 offences. Photograph: Michelle Cooper Galvin

John C Casey (60) of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry pictured leaving Killarney District Court last April after pleading guilty to 14 offences. Photograph: Michelle Cooper Galvin

 

Gardaí who have been trying to execute a bench warrant against a Kerry farmer, who previously admitted a number of breaches of animal health regulations, have not been able to locate him, a court heard on Tuesday.

John C Casey, known as Christy Casey (60) failed to appear in court at the last scheduled hearing of his case, prompting Judge David Waters to issue a bench warrant last month.

Mr Casey of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry pleaded guilty at Killarney District Court in April to a total of 14 offences including a number of breaches of EU Bovine Regulations and a number of breaches of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

The former included several counts of failing to keep a herd register for inspection while the latter included possessing a cow without a bovine passport, failing to produce a bovine passport for an animal and failing to provide information about cattle and refusing to say where cattle were held.

Casey Snr also pleaded guilty in April to failing to provide Department of Agriculture officials with details of the sale or disposal of cattle and with failing to notify the department of the birth of animals within seven days of their birth as required by the regulations.

Department veterinary inspector Louis Rearden said Mr Casey and his son John Casey jnr (37) had steadfastly refused to co-operate with department officials on several occasions over several months and on one occasion when he asked Mr Casey jnr to tell him where some cattle were, the farmer replied: “Go find them.”

Mr Rearden told the court in April that 116 animals simply disappeared and the department had no idea what had happened them which had serious repercussion for the Irish beef industry which prided itself and built its reputation on the traceabilty of animals entering the food chain.

When the case returned to Killarney District Court on Tuesday, Judge Waters was told gardaí had not be able to locate Mr Casey to execute the bench warrant.

As for Mr Casey jnr, Judge Waters requested a medical report on him after hearing the farmer was currently under psychiatric care in hospital.

Defence solicitor Padraig O Connell said his client was in the psychiatric unit of University Hospital Kerry but the solicitor was seeking confirmation in writing to that effect and he also had requested a psychiatric report on the condition of Casey jnr from Crosstown in Killarney.

Last April, Mr Casey jnr pleaded guilty to a total of seven offences including a number of breaches of EU Bovine Regulations and a number of breaches of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 relating to animals he held on a number of holdings.

The offences were all committed between April 30th 2014 and February 19th 2015 at various addresses including at Rathcommane, Ballyhar, Killarney, Ballybrennagh, Tralee, and Slieve East, Camp, all in Co Kerry and Ryefield, Whitechurch and Rylane, both in Co Cork.

On Tuesday, Donnchadh McCarthy BL for the department said if the report suggested Mr Casey jnr had psychiatric issues, he would like whatever psychiatrist prepared the report to attend so that they could be questioned about his state of mind.

Mr McCarthy said the only psychiatric report which the prosecution had seen to date in relation to Casey jnr was one from some time back which confirmed he was fit to plead to the charges when they were put to him following a department investigation.

Mr O’Connell said that if his client was deemed fit to attend court on September 3rd next, the psychiatric report could be submitted in mitigation when it came to penalty and he agreed to make it available to the state as soon as he obtained it.