Does someone saying, 'I'll do her' constitute a threat to kill? This was the question pondered by Resident Magistrate Bernadette Kelly, when James White from Derrylin Road, Kinawley, appeared before her. White (36) was accused of threatening to kill a Social Worker.
His defence barrister, Ian Turkington asked the magistrate if this phrase actually constituted a threat to kill. Ms Kelly declared the phase did, and sentenced White to a prison sentence of three months for the offence. However, due to his time spent on remand, since 11 August this year, he was released.
The charge arose, the Court was told, as result of comments White made in reference to a female Social Worker during a counselling session with another person. In particular, the charge related to his threat when he said: 'I'll do her in'.
Mr Turkington claimed this could not exclusively be taken to mean White intended to kill the Social worker, and could have been meant as a threat to assault of injure her.
NORTHERN IRELAND EXPRESSION
The prosecution however, declared 'to do someone', was a Northern Ireland expression which meant an intention to kill someone.
Ms Kelly ruled that the threat was made to a Social Worker who, she stated, "I have no doubt that's what she feared."
Mr Turkington admitted his client 'has an unsavoury record'; however he explained his client had been in custody since early August, and this was leaving his wife in financial difficult. A longer period of time in jail would jeopardise White's employment, he added.
The barrister also submitted that the threat had been made through a third party, and during a counselling session, 'when one would have thought anger management skills would have been addressed'.
The RM Ms Kelly addressed White, and said: "It is difficult for you to understand that Social Workers have a difficult job to do. It is not the easiest job in the world and they rarely get co-operation. On this occasion, you made a clear threat to this lady which she did take seriously and was understandably upset."
Imposing sentence, Ms Kelly said: 'The courts need to protect certain key workers who do a difficult job in difficult circumstances.'