The case was heard at Naas District Court on Wednesday
A young man was been found guilty at Naas District Court last Wednesday, January 9, of the assault of his former girlfriend and mother of his child.
The former couple had been celebrating the new year at a friend’s house only weeks after the birth of their child. A lot of drink was taken by both, although the amount and effect of same was disputed, as was the cause of bruising all over the young woman’s body.
The woman, in evidence to the court, broke down when presented with a collection of photographs that were taken by Gardai in the days after the alleged assault.
She claimed in her evidence that the morning after the party the couple were in bed when her former boyfriend, the defendant, began to beat her, punching and slapping her in the bed. She said that he accused her of cheating on him.
She said that the assault ended when the defendant’s father entered their room. She said that she ran past the father and fled the house. In evidence she said that she ran to a nearby shop, rang her mother and with the help of shop staff, hid from the defendant until her mother arrived.
She attended a doctor, with suspected broken ribs, although it turned out they were only bruised. Doctors put her on oxygen and gave her painkillers.
She was in contact with Gardai over the coming days, and photographs were taken of her injuries as well as a scratch on her nose, including bruising to her abdomen and all of her limbs.
The defendant’s solicitor, Tim Kennelly, put it to her that she had actually drank a full bottle of Jagermeister over the course of the night, a suggestion she dismissed out of hand, replying that if she had done that “I’d be in hospital, paralysed”.
Mr Kennelly put it to her that in the course of walking home from the party, a journey of up to 40 minutes long, she repeatedly fell on the road and into a ditch, thus causing the bruising.
She denied this. She said that she had loved her former boyfriend, that she thought she felt she had “my perfect family. It was all I wanted”.
Mr Kennelly put it to her that even after the alleged assault, she returned to her boyfriend, that they had a toxic on/off relationship and that she had held the allegations of assault over him to “manipulate a toxic relationship”.
She dismissed his line of questioning, and said that she had hoped her former boyfriend would be a father to their child. She indicated that this had proven not to be case.
“I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt for our child,” she said.
Garda Hugh Dawson gave evidence that when he met the injured party she was “holding her ribs and in a lot of discomfort”.
In the witness box, the defendant said that his then girlfriend was “mouldy drunk”, “falling all over the place” and “making a show of herself”.
He said that the morning following the alleged incident he had “gone drinking with the boys” at a well known Kildare pub.
He said he had drank 12 cans the night before, over the course of a 12 hour period, as well as a few glasses of Jagermeister with red bull which, under questioning, he characterised as four or five. Judge Desmond Zaidan felt that this was a considerable amount of alcohol, whereas the defendant believed that, when consumed over such a long period as 12 hours, it wasn’t much.
The defendant repeated the claim that the complainant was holding the charge over him, and said that even in the days before the court case she had contacted him wanting to go over to see him.
He said she had had a “hape of drink” and was “mouldy drunk” on the night. He insisted that she had fallen a number of times while walking home, both in the ditch and on the road. He admitted that on the night he had “been with another woman” and that the complainant was angry at him for that.
At a certain point in cross examination he began to cooperate less with those asking the questions, Judge Zaidan and Superintendent Martin Walker and asserted: “Look I didn’t assault her. That’s all I’ve to say. I did not assault her. Why would I?”
The defendant’s father gave evidence of entering the room on the morning of the alleged assault. He said that when he came downstairs that morning there was “shouting and roaring” from the sitting room where the couple were sleeping.
He said he grabbed the complainant and “told her to get out of the house”.
“I told her she was nothing but trouble.” He added that it “wasn’t the first time I put her out.”
He said that he didn’t believe his son had assaulted the complainant, and that if he had he “would have killed him meself”. He believed that both the complainant and the defendant have drink problems.
Summarising the case Tim Kennelly told the court he didn’t believe the state had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt. He said that it was a relationship of peaks and valleys and that “this is why this case has gone ahead”.
However Superintendent Walker contended that it was a matter of credibility.
Judge Zaidan was in no doubt. The State had proven the case beyond all reasonable doubt he remarked.
The defendant has three previous convictions for a failing to appear in court, a Public Order matter and possession of drugs.
Judge Zaidan adjourned the case to allow the defendant to engage with the Probation Service. And he warned Mr Kennelly that his client is “facing the prospect of prison” unless he engaged seriously with the Probation Service.