An amateur boxer was convicted of assaulting his ex wife when he called to pick up their child as part of an access arrangement.
The 34-year-old denied a charge of assault causing harm and a related charge of breaching a safety order by assaulting her on the occasion.
Judge Con O’Leary convicted the defendant and imposed a nine-month jail term which he suspended for a period of two years.
The contested case was dealt with at an in camera hearing of Cork District Court yesterday.
Breaches of domestic orders have been dealt with at in camera courts since new legislation was introduced in January. The parties cannot be named.
The injured party said she was dragged from the front door of her mother’s house by her ex husband on the evening in question, and that he beat her outside the house leaving her body bruised and bleeding from a head wound. She also said that her top was torn.
She said that after the assault he said to her: “I am not done with you, you fucking c***.”
Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor for the accused, said to the injured party in cross-examination: “He said you came out all guns blazing, slapping him on the head and pushing him and he pushed you to get you out of the way... He will say you were the aggressor and always were the aggressor.”
To that and other suggestions from the defence about what happened, the woman said: “That is lies.”
The victim’s mother recalled yesterday that her daughter said to her after the attack: “I genuinely thought he was going to kill me.”
The defendant said that as soon as he arrived at the door to collect the child, his ex wife slapped him on top of the head up to four times.
“She was slapping me and pushing me,” he said.
As an aside, the amateur boxer said of his former wife: “She nearly kicked me down the stairs another night.”
He said he took to making video recordings of her attacking him.
He said that because of her attack on him in the incident before the court on March 22, he reacted by pushing her out of the way.
He said it was not a gentle push but it was not violent and he thought that she must have struck her head against the side of the door to end up with the head injury. He did not know how her top got torn.
Judge Con O’Leary said that the description of the disputed incident given by the injured party tallied with her injuries but the description given by the defendant did not.
Cross-examined by Inspector Gary McPolin about the nature of the injuries to the defendant’s ex wife, the accused man said: “It was not a nice thing (the injuries) to see. It should not have happened. I am sorry for that. It should not have ended up that way. It is disgrace as parents that it ended up that way.”
He said that if he had his time back he would have called the gardaí and told them his ex-wife had slapped him on the head.
Addressing the accused man directly, Judge O’Leary said: “The way she explains it explains the injuries. The way you explain it does not.”