A man has been found guilty of attacking his then girlfriend by throwing her on the floor, beating her, and then pinning her to the bed in their flat before he then dropped her to work.
Michael O’Sullivan, of Barrack St, Bantry, Co Cork, denied the allegation and told Judge James McNulty: “I would not do that to another human being.”
After being found guilty, it emerged he had a previous conviction for assault and had received a two-year jail sentence, with six months suspended, in Cork City in 2014 for a sexual assault.
The case was brought before Bantry District Court after a complaint by Diana Sullivan, who was Mr O’Sullivan’s girlfriend at the time.
She told the court that on the morning of December 5, 2017, they were in the bedroom of their flat at Colomane, near Bantry, when they had an argument.
She admitted slapping O’Sullivan across the face. She told the judge: “He was watching porn next to me.”
She said O’Sullivan then got up out of bed and threw her to the ground and began hitting her, before then throwing her back on the bed and pinning her down with his knees and continuing to strike her.
“I was scared and I was crying,” said Ms Sullivan.
She told the judge she had work that morning and that O’Sullivan dropped her into town. She told the judge that when she was getting out of the car, “I said I was sorry but I was not going to let him get away with hitting me like that.”
She went to Bantry Garda Station to make a statement. Garda Eleanor Hennessy told the court Ms Sullivan was upset and had described what had happened. Ms Sullivan later produced pictures, shown in court, of bruising to her arm.
O’Sullivan, aged 44, denied there had been an assault and said he did not recall being struck himself. The court heard that because of that admission, Ms Sullivan had later received an adult caution.
O’Sullivan said it had been a “whirlwind relationship” and a “turbulent” one, but he said he did not recall the events of that morning, although he did remember Ms Sullivan telling him that night that he had gone to the Garda station. The relationship ended some weeks later, he said.
Judge McNulty said he considered Ms Sullivan’s evidence to be truthful and reliable, and that it was corroborated by Garda Hennessy’s account. He said O’Sullivan’s evidence was unsatisfactory, including his inability to recall the events of that day.
The court heard O’Sullivan had five previous convictions, including for assault in 2002, and the two-year sentence with six months suspended for sexual assault handed down in Cork City on November 27, 2014.
Regarding O’Sullivan’s claim in the witness box, the judge said he thought it had been “a tad effusive” and that “clearly this man is in denial”.
“Domestic violence is unforgivable and I imagine, for the victim, it is unforgettable,” he said, sentencing O’Sullivan to three months in prison. “Thankfully she had the strength of character and moral courage to go straight to the Garda station.”
Recognisance for appeal was set at €100, no cash.