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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9575
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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To whom should one address oneself regarding evaluation of

Customer Question

To whom should one address oneself regarding evaluation of damage and action to be taken regarding deliberate vandalism (spraying of weed killer) to a household garden. Thank you for your attention.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Could you explain your situation in more detail please?

Including the extent of the damage and who the culprit is please?

As much detail as you have is really useful in helping experts advise you fully.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On seeing the damage to my plants, flowers and hedges and trees in my garden I asked my neighbour what had happened and he told me he put Roundup weed killer on the hedge as it was annoying him! He told me once he hated trees and asked me to remove a lilac tree as it was taking his light - which it was'nt and I did'nt.He never asked me to trim the hedge on his side which I would have gladly done.I might add it is not a dense hedge and is about 8ft tall.As I said in my email I need an expert to assess the damage and present it to him before taking any legal action.I have contacted various agencies but they could not help me.I have also contacted a landscape gardening company and am waiting for a reply.I would greatly appreciate it if you also could direct me to the most appropriate assessor for this problem - the soil may also be affected as the grass is burned too. Thank you for your prompt reply and I look forward to hearing from you.
Mary Ellen Crehan
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

According to the roundup website, it will kill grass but Roundup is inactive on contact with the soil. It is fixed to the soil particles and gets degraded by micro organisms in the soil into natural materials” so the soil is no issue.

If the neighbour has killed the hedge, that is criminal damage and is a police matter. If he inadvertently killed the grass or plants, that is not criminal damage because there is no criminal intent but it is nonetheless negligence and you are entitled to be recompensed and put back into the position that you would have been had his negligence not occurred.

Under the Nuisance Tree legislation you can be made to cut any nuisance hedge down to 2 m. The neighbour would bring the complaint and the local authority enforce it. The neighbour has to pay a fee of £300 to the local authority. If the local authority decide that the hedge is too tall and is a nuisance, they will order you to cut the hedge down to 2 m.

There is no agency that would deal with this. It is simply a case of getting a Gardner or horticultural expert to give you a quotation for putting everything right.

Can I clarify anything for you? Please do not forget to rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

Best wishes.

FES

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advice and I shall be in touch with you again when I receive the estimate for garden damage tomorrow.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again FES. I have had the damage to my garden estimated and am awaiting a quote.If my neighbour refuses to pay I intend to have damage inspected by the gardai.As he has already told me he used Roundup I wonder what the situation might be if he denies it that this stage as it is not written proof.Thank you. Mary Ellen
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

In my experience, the Garda take this kind of thing far more seriously than the British police.

It would not be at all unusual for anyone charged with criminal damage (any criminal at all for that matter) to deny this.

A criminal prosecution has to be brought beyond all reasonable doubt but the burden of proof in a civil court just for the money (with no criminal prosecution) is on the balance of probabilities and in view of the fact that the neighbour has a history with regard to this and obviously you haven’t done it, then on the balance of probabilities, it’s the neighbour. Not enough for a criminal prosecution but certainly enough for civil litigation.