Tuesday, May 16, 2023

A MAN assaulted his wife after she refused to give him €2,000, a court was told. The 40-year-old defendant denied assault causing harm of his wife, but admitted in the witness box to kicking her on 6 June 2022 and was convicted.

The man had contested charges of assaulting his wife and breaching a safety order on two separate occasions at a recent sitting of Carlow District Court.

Imposing an eight-month suspended sentence for the assault offence, Judge Geraldine Carthy said: “His behaviour before the court has been appalling. He has utterly no respect for his wife … he admitted to kicking his wife, but did not consider it assault.”

The safety order offence was dismissed, as the injured party’s evidence did not make the case for a breach.

The hearing was heard ‘in camera’ and the defendant cannot be named to protect the identity of the injured party.

At the outset of the case, the victim said she was kicked, strangled and slapped in the face by her husband on a date in June 2022. The woman said her husband had been looking for €2,000 and she had not given him the money.

The woman said the relationship was bad, with the defendant scolding her and controlling her personal freedom.

The court was told there was disagreement over the running of a business they had owned together. The pair were now separated.

In cross-examination by solicitor Joe Farrell, the woman said she did not attend a doctor or get medical attention after the incident. The woman said she suffered bruises and bleeding, but did not supply photographs as she was embarrassed about showing her body.

Due to the defendant’s limited English, he was asked through a translator if he had any questions for his wife in court. “She is a liar,” replied the defendant.

The investigating garda in the case said that when he first met the victim on 6 June 2022, she had a swollen, red cheek.

“She informed me her husband had beaten her over an argument about a gambling addiction,” said the garda. “She said he hit her … slapped her three or four times in the face and twice punched her on the head.”

The garda further said the victim told her at the time she had also been kicked three or four times on her arms and legs. “She also alleged she was pushed out the front door and had a sore back from same … there was a final allegation of choking around the neck.”

The defendant was arrested later that night and charged in the early hours of the following morning. The court was told he denied the offence after he was charged and cautioned.

The defendant took the stand and admitted asking his wife for €2,000. Crucially, he accepted he kicked his wife, while denying striking her in the face.

“I did not slap her in the face; I did kick her on one of her legs.”

Following this admission, Judge Carthy brought the evidence and the assault case to a halt, finding the defendant guilty.

“That (the kick) in law is a section 3 assault,” she said.

Judge Carthy proceeded to hear evidence of a breach of a safety order offence, which was alleged to have occurred on 5 February 2023.

The injured party said there was a dispute about money and it was caused as a “result of fraud”.

“I was in debt and he did not agree to pay back the money,” she said.

She claimed her husband used abusive language and was scolding at the time. “I wanted to get out of the house,” she said.

After hearing her evidence, Judge Carthy believed the case for a breach had not been made.

The charge sheet had alleged the defendant had taken her phone, ID and ransacked her room. “None of that evidence was given in direct evidence,” said the judge.

Speaking directly to the injured party, Judge Carthy explained: “I accept it’s very traumatic and upsetting to come to court. However, when you have a criminal charge where a criminal conviction will follow, he could face custody of up to 12 months. A high threshold of evidence has to be reached. I must, as a matter of law, dismiss.”

Judge Carthy said the safety order was still in place and the woman could come back to court if there was a breach.

When the judge considered sentencing for the assault offence, the court was told the defendant had no previous convictions.

Mr Farrell described it as a “sad set of circumstances”, with children involved. He appealed for the matter to be dealt with by way of a fine. However, Judge Carthy differed. The judge said the defendant had shown “no remorse, zero”.

“His behaviour before the court has been appalling,” she said. “He has utterly no respect for his wife … he admitted to kicking his wife, but did not consider it assault.”

Judge Carthy said she was considering a custodial sentence in the case.

Mr Farrell said his client had apologised for his actions and to his wife. “I am unimpressed with the lack of remorse,” said the judge.

Judge Carthy imposed an eight-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. The man was ordered to engage with the probation services and to attend the Men Ending Domestic Violence programme. He was also ordered to comply with the safety order.

“If there is a breach of any conditions, I will have no hesitation invoking the sentence,” said the judge.


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