Mum told police son's whereabouts unknown as he crawled out of window
Published: 16 Oct 2012 15:57
Mary Maguire, of Cleenish Park, Enniskillen, denied obstructing police but was convicted of the offence.
Giving her an absolute discharge, District Judge Mervyn Bates said: "Obviously I'm not encouraging people to give false information to the police."
Fermanagh Court heard that police called at Maguire's home at 1.20am on June 4. She answered the door and they asked her was her son in the house. She told them she didn't know where he was, that he had received death threats and had been staying in Cavan for the previous two weeks. She then slammed the door shut and the officers heard the name "Martin" being called inside the house. Police knocked on the door again and went into the house. One of them, who was standing at the back of the property, saw an upstairs window opening and a man crawling out and jumping on to a roof, from where he made good his escape.
The prosecutor explained that the police had the legal power to enter the house on the first occasion but "were being courteous, giving her a chance to answer" and "that could have been a matter of good grace". They exercised those powers on the second occasion they knocked on the door.
"If they had gone into the house earlier they might have caught him before he got out through the window," said the prosecutor.
He submitted that Maguire had obstructed the police by giving false answers and not allowing the police into the house.
The District Judge said it was a factual issue whether or not Maguire knew her son was in the house.
He pointed out that there was no obligation on Maguire to say anything at all in answer to the police but a negative and false answer could amount to obstructing the police.
"Did she know her son was there," he asked.
Maguire declined to give evidence.
The District Judge said he was taking her refusal to give evidence into account and on that basis convicted her of obstructing the police.