Friday, October 13, 2006

When self defense is not quite self defense.

Padraig Nally 62 was a rural farmer, a law abiding man who lived and farmed alone in Country mayo in the west of Ireland.
John 'Frog' Ward was a traveller, a 42 year old father of 11 children with a criminal record as long as my arm, most of it for larceny. There were 4 bench warrants out for his arrest on the day in question. John Wards's son claims his father was there that day looking to buy scrap metal.

On October 14th 2002, John Ward entered Padraig Nally property. John Ward was-acccording to Padraig Nally-crouching down and had entered the back door of his home when he was confronted by the farmer.
The resulting fight and subsequent shootings caused uproar. People took very definite sides and old rifts and prejudices were re-examined.

Nally said during his trial that he had been living in fear for the five months before the fatal shooting, and that he often sat in his shed with a loaded shotgun for up to five hours at a time. The gun belonged to his father and had been in the house for 65 years.
He said a chain saw had been stolen from the house some months previously and that he was afraid of being broken into and killed in his bed. He often only slept a few hours at night and the pressure was almost unbearable.

On the day Mr Ward came into his farmhouse Mr Nally got the gun from the shed and as he confronted him at the back door, he claims it went off accidentally. He said he did not aim at Mr Ward and his hand was shivering as the trigger went off.
The defendant said Mr Ward took the gun off him and tried to hit him with it but he got it back. And in an ensuing scuffle he hit Mr Ward at least ten blows with a stick.
He then reloaded the gun and followed Mr Ward down the road and fired a second shot at him. Mr Nally said he meant to frighten the Traveller and the shot accidentally hit him. He then pulled John Ward's body over a ditch and into a field.

I'm a country girl, and despite it being non PC I can attest to the fact that certain travellers-not all- have a very bad reputation for stealing anything that is not nailed down. My own father was once offered a six bar gate he recognised as one of his own by group who swore blind he was mistaken- and even when he showed them the letters he had soldered into the base they still insisted he was wrong. In a rural community you would be hard pressed to find anyone that was at ease with discovering a man crouched by your back door. Nor in the city either I should add, but at least in the city you can run next door for help, what do you feel when your nearest neighbours might be miles away?
Padraig Nally has generated a lot of sympathy. He was a decent soft spoken man and this terrible event would never have happened at all if Ward had not been on his property that day, and if Padraig Nally had just shot him in a struggle I would back him to the very hilt.
But Padraig Nally did not just shoot him in a struggle, Pardaig Nally shot him once, beat him with a stick and then reloaded his gun. He followed Ward out onto the road. He re-aimed and shot him again in the back as Ward was fleeing for his life. And that-in my view- is not self defense. That is murder. And while of course I know that it 'wouldn't have happened if yer man hadn't been there' that does not alter any of Nally actions. I have a huge amount of symapthy for Nally, but you cannot go about shooting people in the back and then claiming self defense.
But I am not a court and yesterday Nally was freed after the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that Judge Paul Carney, a High Court judge who presided over the murder trial, had erred in law by failing to allow the jury the opportunity to return a verdict of not guilty.
And so there is to be a re-trial, emotions are running high. Certain idiot factions are bringing race into it -which is ridiculous as travellers and non travellers are all bloody white Irish. ( one complete tool in this morning's Independent referenced the Rodney King case-I mean for Gawd's sake!) The travelling community are venting their anger very publicly on every radio and paper available to them. Equally a lot of people feel this is just, that Nally does not deserve to be punished for 'protecting his home and person'.
Watch and see, this case and retrial will become one of the most socially devisive cases we've had in Ireland for a long time.


Anonymous Twenty Major said...

I think shooting knackers should be the national sport.

10:16 a.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

I agree with you, FMC. The second shot in the back was murder. We all have a right to defend our property, and I can understand the anger this case is causing, but to actually kill somebody who was unarmed? He went beyond the bounds of humanity and used unnecessary force. Why didn't he have a decent guard dog - the best burglar deterrent. (A well trained Rhodesian Ridgeback would have done the trick!).

12:06 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

By the way, FMC, what do you think about Bob Geldorf and Bono being up for the Nobel?

12:09 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Any kind of a mutt at all would have done the trick, no one likes a set of teeth in the arse. I am really gettig sick of Jack Russells, they seem to see me as a running tin of Winalot.
Bono and Geldof? Why not, they campaign long and hard against poverty and world debt. I never thought they would win, but the nomination itself is a recognition of their work.

12:40 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

One of my favourite anecdotes about Sir Bob was that he was in a conference room full of suits discussing the whys and wherefores of food and aid to Africa. The suits were droning on and on and Bob was getting impatient. We need to discuss this thoroughly, Mr. Geldorf, said one of the suits.
"We have it, they don't - what's to discuss?" replied Sir Bob.

I was actually rooting for them to win it jointly.

2:21 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It would have been something all right. I like Bob, he calls a spade a spade and I appreciate that in a man, also I loved teh way he put his heart on the line to raise Tiger as his own.
Okily dokily, I'm off into town to drag the Paramour around jumper shopping. He is not to be trusted doing that sort of thing alone and would come back with golfing ganseys if left to his own devices.

2:56 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

Take him to Reiss, great men's (and women's) stuff at reasonable prices. Have you got Reiss in Dublin? Have a great weekend.

4:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Twenty Major said...

Fuck that cunt. I read in the paper today one of the family saying "Oh the young lad with him has had a very hard time. He's traumatised"

Fuck off, cunts. If he hadn't been accompanying the other knacker on his criminal jaunt he wouldn't be traumatised and if the other cunt hadn't set out to rob a 60+ farmer he wouldn't be dead.

Padraig Nally should be given a medal.

7:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Annie said...

Hi FMC. I have an off topic question that my fiance and my daughter's boyfriend have been nagging me about - Is there any place in Dublin where they can watch American football on Sunday? Silly men.

7:14 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I'll look into it Annie and post tomorrow for ya. K?

8:44 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Too bad it had to come to that. I have sympathy for the Nally fellow, he sounds like he was scared shitless, but why didn't he go to the police when he was terrified for his life in the months leading up to this? Maybe he did and they did nothing.

I think the murder charge against him is the right one because it wasn't manslaughter, but it certainly wasn't in the first degree.

I'm kinda curious as to how travellers see themselves? I guess I mean do they look upon themselves as Irish and bound by Ireland's laws? Do they pay anything for raods and services and stuff? How old are they as a group? What do they reckon to the lawless elements amongst them?

11:04 p.m.  
Anonymous eoin said...

To me it's an open and shut case. Ward crawled onto the public road after having been shot and beaten. The only danger he presented to Nally at that point was maybe getting blood on his wellies, if Nally had stopped there then maybe Twenty Major would have a point, but he didn’t, he reloaded, strolled on down the lane and shot a defenceless man in the back. Now if that’s not murder then what is? No doubt Nally was in a fragile state of mind, but since when has a fragile state of mind been an acceptable defence for murder? Oh yeah, that's right, when the victim is a traveller.

The reaction to this case showed me the sheer depth of prejudice that travellers face. A good proportion of our population don’t just think that it’s OK to murder them, they think that it’s brilliant, that it should be encouraged. What else were all those tabloid front pages proclaiming support for Nally about? In that Donegal Garda corruption scandal, Segent White was found to have planted a gun on a traveller camp in order to frame a traveller for something or other. I’d have no doubt that if all Garda forces were investigated to the same degree we’d find that this type of thing happens all the time. I’m not saying that travellers are all angels, but the systematic discrimination they face is out of proportion to whatever wrongdoing they actually get up to, and it has infected our wider society. It's the people who’ve never come across a traveller in their life that have the most rabid opinions about them.

12:47 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I've been stood at a gate outside a house in a country lane (cul de sac) when three big fellas in a van turned up. They were almost certainly members of the Traveller community... the window rolls down and yer man says, looking at the doberman going apeshit beside me, "Jaysus mishter that dog looks like he'd ate you?" "He's bad-tempered enough for it alright," says I. Window rolls up, van does u-turn and away they go. No looking for directions, no explanation of any kind for their presence, and sure isn't it a free country. It is my opinion that they were casing the joint.
And if I were in P Nally's boots and my blood was up I don't know that I'd have stopped when it was reasonable to do so. The travelling community have to accept that there are among their number some gangs and individuals who have done despicably brutal things to vulnerable elderly people and couples in rural Ireland. Marginalisation is no excuse for their actions nor for others in the community not identifying these people to the Gardaí.

11:30 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It doesn't matter what some of their members do or not, the fact in this case is that Nally shot him, beat him, then followed him out onto the road and shot him agian. The first shooting might have been understandable, but the second shooting was not.
And as I've said, while I have a great deal of symapathy for Nally, it was not self defense.

5:30 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I don't condone Nally's killing the man. However, I do understand that when someone's blood is up in this way the fight can go to the finish, reason doesn't come into it.

2:57 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Twenty. Nally's a threat to no one except those who attempt to harm him in his own home.

the man should get a medal.

Any one who attempts to rob an elderly man, quietly minding his business in his own home, should have no rights.

6:57 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frog ward should have been posthumously charged with leaving the scene of the crimeand Nally should be be made our next president. I've prayed for the day that shooting travellers would be legal. Big game hunting anyone.

3:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frog Ward made part of his living by robbing elderly people. After the death of PAddy Barry in Waterford isn't time to see this for what it is?
And the son who accompanied him is a serial offender too:

10:58 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is certainly not fair to stereotype all travellers in general and in a case such as this I believe the fact he was a traveller should bear no effect on the incident and its consequences. The fact that it is being seen as "no one gives a shit about travellers, we're so unfortunate" is a load of shite. Petty criminal behaviour like this if carried out by any member of society should not be justified or defended

From what has been described of the case that fucker made Nallys life a living hell, not being able to sleep or rest easy in his OWN home. For this alone and the total scumminess of the crime/criminal record of Ward he deserved to be shot.

Why not get a guard dog? Because a guard dog can be shot/maimed killed as easy as a person. The guards were most likely informed and were able to do nothing until a break in was attempted. Even at that he would not have been punished accordingly for the string of offences chasing his name if he had been captured. Plus the fact he was unarmed does not take away from the fact that if he survived he would undoubetly return to seek revenge with greater force. Such elements give me total understanding to Nallys motives and although murder is haenous and horrible it may put some thought into burglars heads and could help diminsh the number of buglaries each year

1:13 a.m.  
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