A man has been convicted of harassment at Fermanagh Magistrates Court this week after sending a series of letters to his ex-partner. 42-year-old Hugh Almond, with an address of Connolly Park Lisnarick, pleaded not guilty to the charges but District Judge Mark McGarrity found that two of the four letters sent “amounted to a course of action of harassment”.

The court heard from the injured party who revealed that she had been in a relationship with Almond 10 years ago and that the pair had two children. She stated that she had received a number of letters, which had been sent to her old address and redirected to her new address and also to her solicitors.

She also stated that a letter had been sent to her daughter from the defendant and that other letters had been received that she had burned.

The injured party revealed that she had found the letters to be “unsettling and quite bizarre, especially the one to my daughter. There had never been any birthday cards or normal cards sent”.

The prosecution described the letters as being “rambling in nature” and in its questioning to the injured party it was revealed that the defendant and the injured party had last had contact four years ago:

“He had been following me. I spoke to him and asked him to go and get some help for his mental health,” the injured party told the court.

Defence barrister, Ciaran Roddy, asked the injured party if she had ever considered telling her solicitor that she was getting the letters and to instruct the defendant’s solicitor to inform his client to stop sending them. In reply she stated that she “honestly did not even know that I could ask my solicitor to do that”.

The injured party, in reply to another question from Mr. Roddy, said that the letters did not make her feel unsafe but that she did feel uncomfortable.

Mr. Roddy told the court that it was the defence’s belief that there was no case to answer:

“For harassment to have occurred the contact needs to be improper, unreasonable and oppressive.”

He went on to say that there was nothing of a “malevolent or threatening” nature in the letters and pointed out that the injured party had admitted that the letters did not make her feel unsafe and that in the defence’s opinion there had been “nothing oppressive in the letters”.

Mr. McGarrity, however, ruled that there was a case to answer.

Mr. Roddy went on to say that the letter that was sent to the injured party’s solicitor had been “entirely the proper course of action to contact” by his client.

He went on to say that the defendant and the injured party would be forever tied as they had two children together and that contact had to be maintained.

In passing sentence Mr. McGarrity stated that two of the letters did amount to a course of action of harassment.

In speaking to the Almond the judge stated:

“You should not have sent these letters, she did not want them and while this is not the most serious of harassment it did cause her distress and you should not do this again.”

Mr. McGarrity went on convict giving the defendant a conditional discharge for two years and imposing a restraining order which states that any correspondence must be through legal representatives.