Published Friday, 22 March 2013
The men lived at adjacent properties at Quarry Cottages, Whitehead. (© UTV)
Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC told John Kiley he "should know better than to conduct yourself in this way."
On the second day of his trial last month Kiley, 63, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing a Browning pistol with intent to cause fear of violence on 17 May last year and a further charge of making a threat to kill his neighbour Patrick Corvan was "left on the books".
The jury of seven men and four women had heard that Kiley and his neighbour Mr Corvan "did not get on very well at all".
The pair owned adjoining properties at Quarry Cottages in Whitehead with Mr Corvan and his family living there permanently while it was a holiday home for Kiley.
Things came to a head on 17 May last year when Mr Corvan noticed a stranger, who turned out to be an Environmental Health engineer, talking to Kiley - but who was on his property.
"There was certainly a lot of sensitivity about who owned what ground at the front of the properties," prosecuting lawyer Tessa Kitson had told the jury, adding that when Mr Corvan asked them to get off his property, "words were exchanged between them about what they would do to each other".
Mrs Kitson described how, after the engineer had gone, Kiley went back into his cottage, but came out and the pair continued to hurl abuse at each other.
She claimed, however, that Kiley reached behind him and pulled a pistol from the waistband of his trousers which he then cocked, pointed at Mr Corvan's groin and threatened "words to the effect that he was going to put one in him and drop him".
Equally incensed and frightened, Mr Corvan challenged him "come on" but Kiley backed off and went back into his cottage while Mr Corvan went into his and called the police.
Arrested and interviewed, Kiley denied the incident happened in the front garden or that he threatened Mr Corvan, claiming instead that his neighbour had come to his front door and that he felt so threatened, he felt he needed the weapon for his own defence.
On Friday, Judge Kerr told the retired officer it was a "very serious case" and warned him that for the next three years, "you have to be very, very careful" there was no repeat incident.