Limerick wife, 58, cleared of domestic violence against husband

Anne Sheridan


Anne Sheridan

Judge Aeneas McCarthy
A WOMAN has had four charges of domestic violence against her 61 year-old wheelchair-bound husband dismissed in court.

A WOMAN has had four charges of domestic violence against her 61 year-old wheelchair-bound husband dismissed in court.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy at Limerick District Court said it would be “totally unsafe” to convict in this case, and dismissed all charges against Mary Hayes, 58, who still resides with her husband Patrick in Thomondgate.

Garda Enda Clifford, Henry Street station, told the court that he took a statement of complaint from Mr Hayes on November 14 last, after he went to the station in late October and “made a litany of allegations against his wife”. Garda Clifford said he tried to mediate between the parties, who have two adults sons, and “found it a very difficult case to deal with”.

Mr Hayes had been issued with a protection order against his wife that month until a hearing date had been set for the barring order.

Mrs Hayes was not present in court for the initial hearing as the application can be made by just one party.

In the subsequent hearing for a barring order on December 3 last, she gave two hours of evidence and the judge dismissed the order.

In separate proceedings, Mr Hayes then gave details to gardai of four alleged incidents of domestic violence where he claimed his wife had breached the barring order.

He told the court that he was trying to leave the house to go to mass on October 23 last, but claimed his wife pulled his ear until it bled and “nearly pulled the ear off my head”.

On another occasion, he said he was in fear of his wife and he locked his bedroom door, putting a locker in front of it, but said “she forced her way in” and knocked him on the bed.

Mr Hayes, who suffers from an illness since he served as with the UN in Cyprus more than 20 years ago, claimed that his wife doesn’t care about him, and said “this [alleged abuse] has been going on for a long time”.

“This is going on too long, she’s blaguarding me every day of week,” he said.

Mr Hayes could not remember the dates of specific offences, saying his brain has been affected from having brain surgery and two hernias.

He claimed his wife gave him a “dig into the jaw one night” and turned off the lights as he attempted to come down the stairs on October 15 last, leaving him in fear that he was going to suffer a fall. He also complained to the judge that his wife doesn’t put a fire on for him during the day.

Mrs Hayes was later charged and taken into garda custody, but Garda Clifford said he “found it difficult to put her in a cell” for the night. She was allowed out to get a cup of tea and a magazine, he told the court.

At a special sitting of the District Court the next day she was granted bail by Judge Eugene O’Kelly on her own bond of €1. Solicitor Sarah Ryan said her client, Mrs Hayes, works all day in a bookmakers, which she has done for 20 years, and cares for her husband in the evening. “She does care about you. She’s very sympathetic to you,” Ms Ryan addressed the plaintiff.

Asked why he didn’t leave the home, Mr Hayes said: “I’m disabled. I can’t walk. How can I move out?”

Ms Ryan said there was no truth whatsoever in what he said, and put it to him that he was making these stories up, which he denied.

In the witness box, Mrs Hayes said her husband’s mental state has been affected by his medication, but Judge McCarthy refused to hear this evidence as she does not have a medical background.

She said her husband “hates her” and has developed a fixation in doing so, adding that his “paranoia” was being fuelled by certain individuals, who were vocal in objecting to this statement in court. She said no divorce papers have been served, despite her husband’s claims that he’s trying to do so.