Thursday, February 02, 2023

A MAN who called out ‘tramp’ to his former partner received a three-month suspended sentence at Carlow District Court recently. The man, aged in his 20s, was charged with breaching a safety order at Tullow Street, Carlow on 19 August last.

Breaches of safety orders are heard ‘in camera’, with reporting restrictions preventing identification of the parties involved.

The injured party in the case, the defendant’s former partner, told Judge Geraldine Carthy she was walking down Tullow Street when the defendant and his mother passed in a car. “He wound down the window and started shouting, he called me a tramp.”

The young woman said there had been “nothing but harassment” from the man at the time.

Asked by Inspector David Buckley how she felt about the comment, she replied: “Extremely anxious, to be honest. I was not sure was he going to come back.”

The woman subsequently gave a statement to Garda Marie Hynes. Garda Hynes said she made several attempts to arrest the defendant for the purpose of charging him. The garda stated that the defendant’s mother said he only stayed there sometimes. The garda asked for a mobile number for him, but did not receive one.

Garda Hynes said she charged him only after he appeared in Carlow courthouse on another matter. The defendant declined to make a cautioned statement when invited to do so on two occasions.

After the conclusion of the state’s case, defending solicitor Chris Hogan sought dismissal on the basis that the evidence before the court did not amount to a threat that would put the injured party in fear, as required for breaching a safety order. Mr Hogan said a breach of a safety order was a serious offence, with a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

“I am not condoning what my client said. Calling out ‘tramp’ from a moving car is not acceptable, but I would say it’s not a criminal offence and a breach of a safety order,” the solicitor argued.

In response, Inspector David Buckley said the injured party had been fearful that the defendant would return. The inspector also highlighted a condition of a safety order was that the defendant would not communicate with the injured party and this was a clear breach of the order.

Judge Geraldine Carthy said she agreed with the prosecution and found the defendant guilty.

The court was told the defendant had 60 previous convictions, but none for breaching a domestic violence order. Convictions included burglary, assault, theft and road traffic offences.

In mitigation, Mr Hogan described the breach as of the “lowest scale”. Mr Hogan appealed for his client not to receive a custodial sentence for family reasons.

Judge Carthy imposed a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. The defendant was directed to have no contact, either directly or indirectly, with the injured party.

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