Ice cream van man fined over Co Donegal beach 'patch' row
A Co Tyrone ice cream van man who whipped up a storm on a Co Donegal beach has been fined €500 for using threatening and abusive language towards another ice cream seller in a row over "patches" on Rossnowlagh Beach.
Judge Kevin Kilrane described the matter as an "ice cream truck war" to laughter in court.
Tom Ward (65), from Drumnakilly Road, Omagh, rammed another van driven by Felim Kernan and then shunted it forward while the alleged injured party was serving customers, Ballyshannon District Court heard.
He also told Mr Kernan that he could get the 'f*****g gardai" if he wanted to during the altercation on the crowded beach that was filmed by a bystander.
Mr Kernan told the court he was parked 20 yards away from Ward.
He said the defendant rammed his vehicle once and then shunted him forward.
The witness was serving customers and suddenly his engine switched off as Ward had taken the keys from his ignition.
When he asked Ward to give back the keys, the latter initially refused.
Mr Kernan said the custom on the crowded beach was to sell ice cream and then move for about 20 yards down the beach to sell more ice cream.
He said he had suffered injuries to his back and had a personal injury claim.
He said the incident was witnessed by a number of people.
Ward told the court that he had been selling ice cream on the beach when Mr Kernan pulled his van directly in front of his vehicle.
"He parked in front of my bumper and I jumped out of truck and took the keys from the ignition," he said.
He admitted tipping the other van and then handed the keys back after "five minutes".
Ward said he thought the matter had ended and did not know that Mr Kernan was going to contact the Garda.
Judge Kilrane said there was a history between the parties, who were both looking for "purple patches" on the beach.
The judge said he was satisfied that Ward had used threatening and abusive language and fined him €500. But the judge dismissed a charge of careless driving against the defendant, even though he had pleaded guilty to that charge.
The judge said the injured party had given a "gross exaggeration" in connection with the alleged careless driving as there was barely a scratch on his vehicle.
He struck out the remaining charges of stealing keys, having no insurance and failing to produce insurance for an incident on July 18, 2017.
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charge of using threatening and abusive behaviour and of driving with no insurance and failing to produce insurance.