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The Disturbing Case of Padraig Nally


Injustice Wins This Round

The countryside of County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, is one of the more peaceful places in Ireland. Life is lived at the slow, friendly pace typical of the Irish countryside.

But Padraig Nally, a 61 year old farmer living alone did not get to enjoy much rural tranquility. His farmhouse was burgled repeatedly, and not much was being done about it. He grew frightened and paranoid, and had resorted pouring water on the soil by his front gate so as to obtain footprints of any intruders.

On October 11, 2004, one Thomas Ward came up to Nally's house asking about buying a Nissan car. While this conversation was taking place, Thomas' father John Ward, snuck into the back of Nally's house.

Nally went back into the hay shed and produced a shotgun and shot the intruder when he emerged from the house. A violent stuggle ensued, in which Ward was hit 20 times with a stick. It's said that Nally went back to the hay shed , reloaded, and then followed Ward down the road, and shot him again, killing him.

On November 11, Nally was convicted and given a sentance of six years. This man, who has never been in trouble with the law in his life, sits in prison today.

This case has been the cause of great debate in Ireland. The judge said that it was "most difficult sentencing matter I’ve had to deal with in 14 years in this court". Nally has great support from his neighbors, who I think see this as an open and shut case of a man defending his property. Or as the case of a good man pushed to the brink of sanity by the repeated break-ins, someone who was so overcome by fear and the terror having his home invaded again and again and again that lost it under the circumstances.

The other side sees this as a case of vigilante justice, of someone who chased a criminal out of the house , reloaded the gun, and decided to execute the wrongdoer.

This is a disturbing case. If Nally was thinking clearly, then his actions in re-loading the weapon and shooting Ward the second time are probably wrong in that supposedly Ward was a beaten man and was allegedly in the process of leaving.

But, if Irish law requires, as it does in America that you be guilty " beyond any doubt ", that raises the question of the Nally's state of mind. It appears that he was terrorized out of his mind by the break-ins and by the flow of events that day. The accounts of the police that day verify this.

What I hear leads me to believe that an injustice was done in the Castlebar court. Nally should have been acquitted.

By the way, this John Ward was a career criminal, a lowlife with 26 convictions. Someone whose last act on earth was leading his son into an act of theft of a farmer living alone. Now we hear about what a loving father and great guy the twenty six time loser was.

If you want to read more on this, you can look at an unsympathetic commentary from a Kerry paper, a thread from a discussion group.

There will be continuing debate and information on the United Irelander site , whose author has championed Mr. Nally's cause. And rightfully so.

Also, there is a Padraig Nally support website that you can keep an eye on.

Two post-mortem examinations showed Mr Ward sustained two gunshot wounds to the body and eight lacerations to the skull and scalp.


Dr Marie Cassidy said Mr Ward's injuries were consistent with being struck by a piece of wood and the fatal shot suggested the gunman was standing above him when he was shot at close range.
you can try and justify it but mr even said he knew it was wrong and shot him as he stooped over this injured man so he was a career crim there's a few of them but have you asked if any involved violence? you and your co hort ui should live when people used to just take out the one's who did anything and hang them the rest of us like law and sometimes we are let down by the police so does that mean we have the right to kill

Well said, Phantom. It's time to bring as much attention to this miscarriage of justice as is possible.

Sympathy should have been given to this victim of crime who was put through a personal hell by criminals.

Some people like william may feel the need to champion the rights of career criminals but most of us are realistic and believe that if criminals seek to abuse the rights of others, then they ought to lose their own rights.

What has been said repeatedly, by UI, myself and others is to consider Nally's state of mind. You brush this aside. You shouldn't.

Noone says that we all have the right to kill anyone who intrudes into our property. I add the comments about the dearly departed Mr. Ward only because of the media report of the family saying what a fine loving father he was. The fine loving father who took his son on a mission to rob a house. Dear old daddy indeed.

and the travelling community has always been petty thieves and should be treated like so . but to stand over a already dying man and fatally shot him now come on.i dont brush his state of mind yes he was parinod(again shite spelling)but then if he was mentally unstable why was nt he locked up with the crimmally insane as he said he knew he was wrong and if he knew his actions were wrong that says he still knew right from wrong and therefor is accountable for his actions

william,

There's a difference between being pushed to your wit's end and being criminally insane.

Mr Nally acknowledged he was wrong in hindsight. In hindsight things are simple. When the events are actually occurring is when things get difficult.

It needs to be remembered that this difficult situation would not have occurred had Mr Ward respected the law of the land as Mr Nally had done his entire life.

Detective Garda Michael Conway said Mr Nally had told him he 'went berserk' when he saw Mr Ward coming out of the back of his house. He shot him twice and beat him at least 20 times with a stick, the jury was told.

he did nt like getting robbed and went beserk and excuted this man

You'll find this interesting william from the trial:

"Sgt Carroll told Mr O’Higgins SC that Mr Nally is a bachelor who lives alone and has never come to the attention of the gardaí before this incident. He said Mr Nally is a small farmer who is "well regarded by his friends and neighbours in the Funshinagh and the surrounding area".

Sgt Carroll agreed with defence barrister Mr Brendan Grehan SC, that Mr Nally had been living in fear after being robbed and unwelcome strangers had come to his house.

Sgt Carroll agreed with Mr Grehan SC that Mr Nally was "out of his mind with fear" on the day of the fatal shooting.
"

william, it seems like you're only trying to potray one side of the case which is that Mr Nally was wrong. I wonder why you're doing this. Have you ever bugled a home in your life? Is that why you're defending the traveller Mr Ward so much?

i have when i was younger so that makes me bad in your eyes so much for your christian attitude you my dear man are the lowest form of hyprocrite. so a sgt is now a shrink your police are great of course he would be full of fear he relised what he had done

william

"i have when i was younger"

LOL! So the picture beomes clear!

You defend Mr Ward because you can relate to what he did! Well I don't. I've never burgled a home and I stick up for the rights ofhome-owners.

Have you not learnt from your past? Why do you continue to defend criminals?

Guys, lets try to keep it from becoming too personal...

he already crossed that line phamton i am all for a good debate but to be called names shows what im up against
i was under 13 when i did it and for reasons like wanting to eat and alough(again with bad spelling) i was a crim i learnt and dont defend crims i just belive in justice have i learnt from my past more than you will ever know

william

"he already crossed that line phamton i am all for a good debate but to be called names shows what im up against"

What name did I call you william? I never insulted you.

It does seem to me though that the reason you are so interested in defending Mr Ward is that you can relate to that kind of lifestyle unlike people such as myself.

Only you know the reasons as to why you want to defend Mr Ward.

I myself just want to live in a society where the law is respected and where people's homes and property is respected. So did Mr Nally - a man now in jail.

so you want a law that respects well then let this man do his time as he is now a crim he broke the law and killed a man no matter the reason
you know the line you crossed you made it personal about the burgs bringing it up i wrote i did in my blog and you made me the same as mr ward,
im not defending mr ward he should be in jail now not in the cemetary

Indeed, I welcome your comment which is entirely reasonable. We may differ on one thing - I don't think that you should shoot somebody to protect property, only your person. After all, it's only stuff.

And, as you pointed out, Ward was probably entirely capable of assaulting, beating and torturing Nally. Relatives of mine, older, unarmed and more vulnerable than Nally have been attacked in their homes. But even they say to me, it's wrong to kill a man who's running away, when your life is not in danger.

It would be comforting the blow away all of the "the troublemakers." But it takes a certain amount of courage to live in a democracy and "if you tolerate this, then your children will be next."

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