Thursday, July 21, 2022

Eimear Dodd

A Dublin man who assaulted his former partner and her teenage daughter has been handed a 32-month prison sentence.

The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of his victims, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing harm on November 23rd, 2021.

During sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Wednesday, Judge Elma Sheahan said the man had “severely traumatized” the victims in their home, which should be a “place of refuge”.

She sentenced the defendant to three years and two months imprisonment on both counts, with the final six months suspended on strict conditions.

The defendant has 78 previous convictions including four for threatening behaviour. He is currently on remand in relation to these offences.

Evidence was heard that the man and his former partner were in a long-term relationship and have two young children.

On the day in question, the defendant appeared at the woman’s home and tried to kick in the front door.

The victim and her then 15-year-old daughter tried to keep the door closed, however, the defendant managed to grab the victim’s hair and punch the right side of her face.

Once inside, he started to kick her. He had a blade in his hand and cut her face. Her daughter tried to help the victim, but the defendant started to punch her.

The victim’s son then came downstairs and the defendant ran away. The victim was treated in hospital for cuts to her face and neck and bruising to her ribs, jaw and cheekbones.

Her daughter suffered bruising to her shoulders and a cut lip, but did not require medical assistance.

The court also heard evidence that the defendant had breached a safety order obtained by the victim. He made no admissions when initially interviewed by gardaí.

Knife

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client claims he did not have a knife during the incident, but was holding a set of keys in his hand.

Karl Moran BL, prosecuting, said the daughter indicated she saw a knife in the man’s hand. The victim noticed in hospital that she had cuts to her face.

Mr Moran read a victim impact statement which outlined the severe effect of these incidents on the victim’s mental health.

She said she feels extremely anxious when she hears the defendant’s name and has also moved to a new job.

The incidents have also affected her younger children, who find it hard to leave her and get night terrors. All the children are in counselling.

Mr Spencer said his client is extremely remorseful and regrets his behaviour. He had written a letter of apology to his former partner and offered €2,000 as a gesture of compensation, which was declined.

He said his client had a good work history, but finds himself in difficult financial circumstances because he is in custody.The defendant was angry at the time as he believed his ex partner had been unfaithful, though this did not excuse his behaviour, counsel said. The man now wishes to complete an anger management course and is undergoing counselling.

The defendant also had a difficult family background and is being treated for a medical condition which may require surgery. He wished to be involved in his children’s lives in the future and hopes this will not have a lasting effect on his relationship with them.

Judge Sheahan said the offending had taken place over a period of time in the family home while children were present and the previous relationship between the defendant and the victims were aggravating factors.

Judge Sheahan set a headline sentence of four years on both counts, which she reduced to three years and two months taking the mitigating factors into consideration.

She backdated the sentence to December 2021, when the defendant entered custody.

Judge Sheahan also ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim except in relation to their children.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email [email protected]) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email [email protected]) for support and information. 

Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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