Moncton's so-called "Park Golfer" was arrested Friday afternoon, when he showed up uninvited at a news conference being staged by a man calling for the city to pass a bylaw banning the hitting of golf balls in city parks.
Mike Delahunt crashed the news conference called by area resident Fred Leidemer, who says he was assaulted by a golfer in the park on Saturday.
Delahunt took questions from reporters and stated, among other things, that he has been going to the park since he was three years old, he uses the park to practise juggling, he never uses a driver to hit golf balls, and his golf in the park keeps homeless people from taking it over.
"I feel I haven't done anything wrong," he said.
After talking to reporters, Delahunt was arrested by Codiac RCMP, who are investigating a complaint involving an alleged assault on Leidemer in Victoria Park last Saturday.
Leidemer, 65, suffered a broken arm and lost a tooth when he says he confronted Delahunt in the park, after his wife was almost hit by a golf ball.
Delahunt did not answer questions about the alleged assault. "I'm not going to comment on that right now because it hasn't been taken care of. That's a whole different matter," he said.
Later Friday, Codiac RCMP issued a news release stating Delahunt faces a charge of assault causing bodily harm in connection with the altercation in Victoria Park on Saturday.
Area residents have registered complaints with city officials and the police for weeks about Delahunt hitting golf balls in the park.
However, Moncton's bylaws do not prohibit golf in city parks, so all they could do was request that Delahunt stop playing golf in the park. He didn't.
Leidemer and local lawyer, Brian Murphy, began their news conference by calling for Moncton to pass a bylaw prohibiting golf in the park. Murphy said most municipalities have clearer rules than Moncton does on what should and should not be allowed in parks.
However the news conference quickly took an unexpected turn with the arrival of Delahunt and his girlfriend.
"This whole situation, to me, seems to be approaching the theatre of the absurd," said Leidemer.
Delahunt confirmed police had asked him to stop hitting golf balls in the park, but said he didn't feel he was hurting anyone and doesn't plan to stop.
"As far as putting people's lives in danger, that was never my intent. Nor would I ever want to put anyone's lives in danger, young or old. And if anyone feels it's that much of a danger, if they would come out and watch me, [they would] realize I do take due care," he said.
"I've never injured anyone in this park … with a golf ball and I guess, you know, I still stand by the right that if there's nobody in this park, I should have the ability to enjoy myself just like everyone else," Delahunt said
"I'm part of this community too."
Delahunt also discussed the videos he has posted on YouTube of himself hitting golf balls in the park and making comments about passersby being in his "fairway." Delahunt said those videos were scripted and he was acting.
After Delahunt was taken into custody, his girlfriend, Natasha Campeau, approached Leidemer and said she was sorry for all that has happened.