A judge has refused a safety order to a husband who locks himself into his own bedroom at night out of fear of his wife.
At the family court in Ennis, Judge Patrick Durcan refused to grant the safety order to the man stating he had not met the standard required for the court to confirm the order.
In his ruling, Judge Durcan also said he found the father had engaged in “contemptible behaviour” in recording a conversation with his daughter over what she saw in a domestic incident between the parents.
The judge said the man, in recording the conversation with his daughter, “engaged in behaviour which is damaging to his children”.
Noting that the man claimed to be in fear, the judge said he was guided in the case by what was in the best interests of the welfare of the children.
In evidence, the man said that his wife had called him a “scumbag, knacker, that I have no friends, that I was going to lose everything and no one wants me”.
The man said that his wife “is demeaning towards me, belittles me and makes me feel worthless”.
“I feel really intimidated and helpless,” he said.
The man said he slept in a different bedroom to his wife.
He said: “I changed the locks on my own room. I lock myself inside the room at night because I am in fear of her.”
The man brought the safety order application after an incident at breakfast time at home earlier this month where, he claimed, he had been put in fear after his wife threw a knife into the sink while they were having an argument.
Under cross-examination, the man told the court: “It was an eye opener. It could have been worse, it could have been directed at my head. She was waving the knife at me.”
However, the wife’s solicitor, Ann Walsh, told the court her client had been making sandwiches for lunch and would say she had dropped the knife into the sink and there had been a loud bang.
The dropping of the knife occurred during a row between the two over the husband’s work commitments. The man said his wife told him “don’t you f-ing start with me’ as they argued.
The man had previously obtained a protection order from the court. He admitted under cross-examination he told his wife during the course of the exchanges he would contact the gardai if she interfered with his work commitments.
A protection order is a temporary order that accords the same protection as a safety order.
The man said that, after the protection order was granted, the situation at home improved, and his daughter had said: “At least mammy and daddy aren’t fighting any more.”
On seeking the safety order, the man told the court: “I wouldn’t have done this unless I felt I was in danger.”
Ms Walsh, however, said her client would deny there had been any verbal abuse from her.
The husband, meanwhile, said they have a car loan in both names and denied that he told his wife he would report the car stolen to gardaí if she did not give him the car keys.
The man also admitted he recorded a conversation with his daughter with her knowledge over what she saw during the knife incident. He said: “I asked her what happened between me and mammy and she said that ‘mammy threw the knife’.”
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