Port Macquarie neighbours front court after lawn mowing dispute ends badly

ONE patch of lawn, an alleged heated exchange involving a lawn mower, a knife and ending with the amputation of a hand, has seen two Port Macquarie neighbours front Port Macquarie Local Court.

John Richard Reynolds, 72 of Crestwood Drive and his neighbour 80-year-old Eulogio Bersais appeared before the court on Wednesday May 30.

Reynolds was charged with using an offensive weapon with the intent to commit an indictable offence; affray; and reckless grievous bodily harm. 

Reynolds' case was for mention and was adjourned to  Port Macquarie Local Court on August 9, 2018.

Bersais was charged with affray and using an offensive weapon with the intent to commit an indictable offence.

Bersais pleaded guilty to both charges and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Police facts state the offences occurred between 9.20am and 9.40am on February 24, 2018.

In facts submitted to the court in relation to the charges against Bersais, police alleged the pair had been neighbours for two years and had been in a dispute for much of that time over a number of issues.

One of those alleged issues was a patch of grass located on a nature strip out the front of both premises.

Police allege that on Saturday, February 24, Reynolds and another man were mowing his front lawn and decided to mow the contested section of the nature strip grass.

Police allege Reynolds and Bersais became involved in a verbal exchange.

This exchange resulted in Reynolds allegedly pushing the Bersais away and saying: 'piss off'.

Bersais and Reynolds engaged in fisticuffs, police facts said. This resulted in Bersais retreating into his residence.

Reynolds returned to mowing the grass strip.

Police allege Bersais returned outside, this time armed with a metal (railway) spike. It is alleged Bersais hit the lawnmower, causing some damage.

Reynolds stopped mowing and walked to his front yard and retrieved his prospector's pick and approached Bersais. Both men threatened each other, the police facts said.

This confrontation ended with Bersais retreating back inside his premises. Reynolds returned to mowing the contested section of grass.

A short time later, it is alleged Bersais returned armed with a large knife/sword about 70cm long.

Police allege Bersais began swinging the weapon in the direction of Reynolds who positioned the lawn mower (running) between himself and his neighbour.

This confrontation continued and ended with Bersais allegedly on the ground in front of the running lawn mower.

Reynolds remained in control of the mower and the blades have come into contact with the inner left thigh of Bersais causing significant damage to that area, police facts said.

It is alleged Bersais used his left hand to protect himself from the lawn mower which has come into contact with the lawn mower blades.

According to the police facts, neighbours and the wives of the two men called emergency services.

Bersais was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle where his left hand down to the wrist was amputated. Police facts said he also received skin grafts to the inner thigh injuries.

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