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"Jilted lover" who assaulted and harrassed ex has sentence suspended

CourtsBy Sunday World
Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A “jilted lover”, according to his lawyer, has had his prison sentence for assaulting his former partner suspended on appeal.

The 46-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two counts of assault, harrassment and theft at various locations in Dublin on dates between November and December 2009.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on June 19, 2012. He was granted bail, pending an appeal, by the Court of Criminal Appeal the following month.

The man lost an appeal against his conviction yesterday but successfully submitted that his sentence was excessive. The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal and suspended any unserved portion of his sentence.

Giving background, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the victim was a Mauritian woman who came to Ireland in 2008 and who had commenced a relationship with the man, also a Mauritian national, a short time afterwards.

She sought to end the relationship when she learned that his wife was soon to arrive in Ireland, Mr Justice Mahon said.

On learning that she had started a new relationship, the man turned up at her college and on two occasions followed her on a bus journey.

Mr Justice Mahon said the assaults were serious involving beatings and slapping her on her head and face, using closed fists, a hair-straightener and a lamp.

It was quite a vicious assault on a defenceless woman who was lucky to have emerged with superficial injuries, the judge said.

He maintained through his barrister Padraig Dwyer SC, that the sentence imposed was excessive.

Having regard to the fact that the judge was sentencing someone without relevant previous convictions, Mr Justice Mahon said the four year sentence appeared to be “somewhat out of line”.

To this limited extent, the judge said, it was an “error in principle”. The Director of Public Prosecutions had accepted that the sentences were severe, the judge said.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, said the court would suspend any unserved balance of the sentences already imposed.

Mr Justice Birmingham clarified that the suspended period commenced from yesterday's date.

He had also been tried in respect of other offences in the Central Criminal Court but the jury disgreed on a verdict, the court heard.

In his unsuccessful appeal against conviction heard yesterday, Mr Dwyer said the absence of telephone records didn't allow the jury to objectively assess the level of contact he had with his former partner.

The extent of the activity reduced itself to the boarding of a bus on which his former partner was travelling, Mr Dwyer said.

Also on the bus was a person with whom she had developed a relationship, Mr Dwyer said. The injured party was disturbed by his presence. There was an altercation between the two men and “it's fair to say”, Mr Dwyer said, “that he (his client) came out the worst”.

He boarded the bus on another occasion but there was no specific date in relation to that, cousnel said.

Mr Dwyer said his client became particularly upset that she had established a new relationship.

During this period he contacted her by text and phone but there were no specific times or dates advanced just that he was texting her and that it was unwarranted.

He rang her mother, her sister, her ex-husband and her place of work, the court heard. She was working in a house looking after an elderly man at the time.

He was a "jilted lover", Mr Dwyer said. Even if it caused annoyance or irritation, it wasn't " unnatural", he said.

Dismissing his conviction appeal, Mr Justice Mahon said the court was satisfied that the jury were adequatly charged in relation to the ingredients of the offence of harrassment.

By Ruaidhrí Giblin