Employee accused of 'bully-boy tactics'

 

A judge yesterday described a poultry-firm employee's behaviour toward a sacked Brazilian worker as "bully-boy tactics". The employee had broken into the man's room.

The man had been dismissed by the company and ordered to leave his rented accommodation by management of Hannon's Poultry Exporters Ltd. A Hannon's employee was convicted of burglary as a result at Roscommon District Court yesterday.

Mr Noel Beatty, of Turville, Roscommon, Co Roscommon, had pleaded not guilty to entering as a trespasser the room of Mr Wuherthon Paulo Souza jnr with intent to cause unlawful damage at The Walk, Roscommon on May 30th, 2001.

The court heard that Mr Souza had been employed by Hannon's Poultry Exporters Ltd, Roscommon, following his arrival from Brazil in September 2000. The company had arranged accommodation for him and deducted £30 per week from his wages as rent.

Mr Souza told the court that he shared a room with another man in a four-bedroom house.

On May 22nd, 2001 he was dismissed from his work with Hannon's. He was also told he would have to leave the accommodation by May 28th. He told the court that his rent was still paid on the room as he had paid it in advance.

"I went searching for work in Cork and on May 30th I was looking for a job when I got a phone call from Kevin Connolly asking three or four times if it was OK that he broke my room, break the door and take my stuff," Mr Souza explained.

"I came back to Roscommon and the door was broken and there was somebody else's belongings in there."

Under cross-examination from Ms Brid Miller, solicitor for Mr Beatty, Mr Souza confirmed that in his phone call he told Mr Connolly that he understood what was said but denied giving permission for his belongings to be removed.

Ms Miller told the court that the owner of the property is Mr Oliver Hannon, who also owns the factory, and that there was no accusation from him that Mr Beatty entered the house as a trespasser.

Ms. Miller applied to the court for a direction to dismiss the case on that basis. The application was refused and no defence witnesses were called.

Judge Mary Fahy concluded that the way Mr Sousa was treated was "appalling".

"To break down the door of anybody's room and remove the property and to remove it in such a manner can only be described as bully-boy tactics," she said.

Judge Fahy convicted Mr Beatty of burglary and fined him £200.