Neighbourly feud case thrown out after truth could not be found

A neighbourly feud was dismissed in court after the truth could not be found in the two differing testimonies.

Ricky Shane Sheridan (55) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday charged of threatening to kill his neighbour, and first cousin, Peter Prescott (57) on May 23 last year.

About noon, in Normanby, Mr Prescott was outside transplanting his succulents when Mr Sheridan left his adjoining house to get baby wipes from his car.

However, both parties had different memories of what happened next.

Mr Prescott testified first in the judge-alone trial in which he alleged Mr Sheridan had "snuck up" on his left side and said, "I hear you’ve been telling people around the neighbourhood that I’m a ... snitch."

Mr Sheridan then repeatedly called him a "muppet" and a "panty pincher".

After Mr Prescott replied with, "Is that all you got?" Mr Sheridan allegedly rushed up and said he or someone else would put a bullet between his eyes.

Mr Prescott went home and immediately called the police.

In his own version of events, Mr Sheridan said his neighbour had been kneeling with his "little white bucket" in his garden when he had’d asked him, "Where do you get off telling the neighbours I’m a police informant?"

Mr Prescott replied, "Well, you ... are."

When he returned with the baby wipes, Mr Sheridan testified that he had told Mr Prescott, "If you have a problem with me, we should sort it out."

"Like real men [by fighting]," he later said in his testimony.

Mr Prescott was not interested and the two returned to their respective houses, but Mr Sheridan said he had never left the footpath or rushed at his neighbour.

Mr Sheridan had then eaten a "lovely lunch" before the police turned up and arrested him.

Ultimately, Judge Josephine Bouchier declared that trying to rule if a threat was made was tricky as she had "two witnesses who [were] absolutely adamant they [were] correct".

Because of these differing testimonies, the court was not able to decide that and Judge Bouchier dismissed the charges.

- TINA GRUMBALL Court reporter





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