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18 Aug 2022

Heated voice recording played at Kildare court hearing

Tensions: Court was told that the argument was recorded in the presence of couple’s child

Heated voice recording  played at Kildare court hearing

The case was heard at Naas District Court on Thursday, July 21. Pic: Naas Courthouse

A volatile argument that was recorded on a phone was played in front of those in attendance at Naas District Court on Thursday, July 21.

The recording was played in the middle of an domestic violence case, and the court was told that it was recorded while in the presence of the former couple’s child.

The alleged injured party claimed that on a date last year, her ex-husband allegedly slapped her in the face and grabbed her by her hair, after she said she was going to the UK to visit a friend.

She then accused him of pushing her on a date earlier this year; the incident that she claims was captured through the voice recording.

In the message, both parties accused each other of pushing one another, and at one point, the ex-husband told the woman: 'you are sick'.

It was also heard that the man accused her of having a boyfriend in the UK, which she denied, saying: 'He is only my friend.'

Garda Sergeant Brian Jacob then showed photographs of the woman’s alleged injuries to defending solicitor David Powderly.

However, upon inspecting the photos, Mr Powderly said that he could not see any visible injuries.

During cross-examination, he asked the woman if she still lived with her ex-husband. She replied that she did, but has been sleeping on the couch since the marriage broke down two years ago.

The woman then visibly broke down, and pointed to how she had difficulties in getting people to mind her child, as her ex-husband had told neighbours not to mind them, despite her wishes to get someone to look after the child when she was at work.

When her ex-husband took to the stand, he said that he minded the child most days, and even crafted a recreational area in his workplace so he could spend time with his child, and helped them with their homework from time to time.

He also said that he had tried pursuing marriage counselling with his ex-wife, and even consulted his mother-in-law in order to find a way to repair their relationship.

When asked by Judge Michéle Finan if they both wanted to live in the house to be with his child, he said: 'We do, yes.'

During the case, the judge briefly paused and ordered a female attendee to leave for not identifying herself at the start of the case, which was held in private.

Although the woman said that she was with the domestic violence service Teach Tearmainn, she was still ordered to leave the courtroom.

'FIGHTING IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD IS WRONG'

After hearing both sides, the judge said: "It seems to me like this marriage is over, and you both have to accept that it is over... but fighting in front of your child is wrong."

She then told the woman: "Leave the child out of your arguments with your ex-husband."

The woman became visibly emotional again and told the judge that they were legally divorced in their home country.

"Well, leave the house," the judge said, to which the woman replied: "Where (do I go)? I don’t have much money."

When she asked Judge Finan why she thought she was at fault, the judge replied: "The way both of you have behaved is toxic."

After the woman questioned Judge Finan further, the judge said: "Do you want me to convict him because you wanted to see your friend in the UK? Why didn’t you go to family members or friends if you want help with your child?"

When the woman kept speaking, Judge Finan said: "Can you listen while other people are speaking? Because I don’t think you can."

After the woman kept trying to speak, the judge struck out the case: "You either need to go to a marriage counsellor, or move out and separate."

"I want to," the woman told the judge, and left the courtroom, visibly breaking down.

The ex-husband tried to walk out after her, apologising to the judge for his ex-wife’s demeanour during the case as he left.

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