Judge halts assault trial midway after hearing of Kildare family's chaotic day

Defendant warned that complainant 'on the way over and she has an iron bar'

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Judge halts assault trial midway after hearing of Kildare family's chaotic day

The case was heard at Naas District Court on Wednesday.

A judge brought the trial of a man accused of assault to a halt after he had heard evidence of the chaotic events that lead to the allegation.

A reporting restriction was put on the case, to avoid identifying the children of a former couple. And it was their difficult relationship that was at the heart of the incident.

Judge Desmond Zaidan urged the couple to engage in mediation for the sake of their children. Since the incidents which lead to this case, the couple have been the subject of family law proceedings and protection orders have been sought.

The man told the court that he had been chased with a shovel and beaten in front of his kids.

The defendant was charged on the basis that when the complainant in the case went in search of her partner (they have now split up) at the defendant’s home, it was alleged that he exited the house, grabbed her roughly by the arms and swung her around until he fell over.

He was, she alleged in evidence, intoxicated and had called her a rat and a snitch for “telling on my ex-partner for working with him”.

Defending the accused man, Tony Hanahoe brought the evidence back to earlier in the same day, back at the complainant’s own house. The incident happened in the summer of 2016 in a rural area of the county.

Judge Desmond Zaidan halted the trial

The court heard that the woman, her then partner, their children and a family friend had had a meal at the home. The family friend gave evidence that things were calm during the meal, but when the former partner suggested he would go to his friend’s house, (the defendant), “all hell broke loose,” the family friend explained.

He said that the woman didn’t want her partner to go and that there was a certain amount of manhandling of each other. The former couple’s children were upset by what was happening, the witness said.

Eventually the man and the family friend exited the house and got into the friend’s car. They waited for a little while for the couple’s daughter, and in the meantime saw the woman wrapping a cloth around an iron bar and putting it into the back of her car.

The family friend recounted how the woman’s partner said to him: “Somebody’s going to get it tonight.” 

Solicitor Tony Hanahoe represented the defendant, who pleaded not guilty.

From that point on, the witness said, the partner wanted nothing to do with her that night. As he drove the man away and to his friend, she called him a few times, wanting to speak to her partner, and also asking him to get her cigarettes in Naas.

Having dropped the man off at the defendant’s house, he returned to the family home and picked up their daughter. He also rang the defendant, telling him “she’s on the way over and she has an iron bar”.

Judge Zaidan halted the trial at that moment saying he wanted to bind all concerned to the peace, although he cautioned:“I’m not saying that the incident (which was the subject of the charge) didn’t happen.”

“It might be for the best,” Inspector OIiver Henry remarked to the judge.

Judge Zaidan urged the couple to engage in mediation but decided against making any order in the case.