Probation Act for prison officer who assaulted girlfriend

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The Probation Act was applied in the case of a prison officer who assaulted his partner, who is also a prison officer
A PRISON officer who assaulted his girlfriend during a fight at their home on the outskirts of the city avoided a criminal conviction after the Probation Act was applied.

A PRISON officer who assaulted his girlfriend during a fight at their home on the outskirts of the city avoided a criminal conviction after the Probation Act was applied.

During a contested hearing, Limerick District Court was told the incident happened on the evening of April 29, 2014.

The man’s former partner, also a prison officer, said the defendant grabbed her by the wrists after she asked him to leave the house.

She said a row broke out between them after he accused her of “going off with different men” and having affairs.

In her evidence the woman said after she asked him to leave the house, he refused and started roaring and shouting and pushed her back into the house.

“He caught me by the two arms and pinned me up against the wall,” she said adding that she then tried to leave with the couple’s three children.

The woman claimed her ex-partner then opened the door of her car and removed her mobile phone and car keys in an attempt to prevent her from leaving.

She then went to a next-door neighbour’s house to phone a relative while the defendant left in his own car.

In his evidence, the accused man denied stealing the car key or mobile phone.

However, he agreed that when he was contacted by gardai the following day, he found the mobile phone in the boot of his car and posted it back to his former partner.

The defendant, who has an address in Sligo, claimed his former partner had accused him of having an affair a number of days before the incident and he produced a screenshot of text messages sent by her to his phone.

He denied he had caught the woman by the wrists and insisted he was “happy to go” when she asked him to leave the house and there had been difficulties between the couple “on and off” in the weeks before the incident.

He said on the evening he “upset but calm” and insisted he had left the house within ten minutes (of being asked) once he packed all of his belongings into his car.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told the man has not had any contact with his children since and that proceedings are ongoing in the family law court.

The judge dismissed the theft charges saying she had a doubt.

Regarding the assault, she said what had happened was “very sad” but the in the circumstances she was willing to apply the Probation Act.