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Guilty plea Father of one who attacked partner outside garda station jailed for three-and-a-half years

Charles McDonagh (43) was caught by gardaí standing over the woman while holding her bloodstained handbag in his hand and shouting: “Where is the drugs?”

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A father of one who attacked his then partner outside a garda station has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Charles McDonagh (43) was caught by gardaí standing over the woman while holding her bloodstained handbag in his hand and shouting: “Where is the drugs?”

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that McDonagh and the victim are no longer in a relationship and have not seen each other since the assault.

McDonagh, with an address at Merchants Quay Hostel, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Church Street, Dublin City centre, on March 29, 2020. His 44 previous convictions include convictions for assault causing harm, assault and violent behaviour in a garda station.

Garda Deirdre McDonnell told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that at around 3am on the morning  in question, gardaí responded to a call from Kevin Barry House flat complex and met with a tenant who wanted McDonagh removed from his flat as he had become “aggressive”.

Gardaí observed McDonagh and a woman inside the flat, along with evidence that drug-taking had been going on. McDonagh agreed to leave the premises and was escorted from the complex.

Gda McDonnell said that approximately an hour later, she was inside Bridewell Garda Station when she heard a woman screaming outside.

The garda went outside and observed the woman from earlier bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth while McDonagh stood over her. He was holding the victim's bloodstained handbag and was shouting: “Where is the drugs?”

The victim, who had swelling to her face and bruising to her eye, told gardaí that the accused had done this to her. McDonagh, who claimed the victim had fallen over, was arrested.

Mr Cooney said that in CCTV footage obtained by gardaí, McDonagh could be seen punching the victim at least 15 times to the head and torso.

Counsel said at one stage during the incident, McDonagh pinned the victim against the wall of the garda station, took her handbag, blocked her as she attempted to flee and assaulted her again.

Gda McDonnell agreed with Kitty Perle BL, defending, that her client and the victim were in a relationship for four years prior to the assault. She agreed this could be described as having been a “toxic, unhealthy relationship”, which was marked by the drug use of both parties.

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The garda agreed with counsel that the relationship is now over and the parties have not seen each other since the incident. She agreed they have a child together and that McDonagh does not currently have access to this child.

Ms Perle said her client had difficulty dealing with the death of two brothers and his father in recent years and dealt with this by abusing alcohol and drugs. She said for the vast majority of his adult life, he has been labouring under an addiction.

Counsel said her client had been on remand in prison for around one year and has put that time to good use by engaging in education. She said she is instructed to offer an apology to the victim.

Judge Elma Sheahan said it goes without saying that McDonagh's actions were “despicable and reprehensible”.

“The brutality of such behaviour against someone with whom one shares a child is shocking,” she said.

Judge Sheahan said the CCTV footage showed that they were walking along engaged in conversation when he suddenly punched her a number of times in the face. She said the case was aggravated by his recommencing the assault after the victim tried to get away.

The judge said the nature of his previous convictions were “clearly of concern”. She noted McDonagh has received the leniency of the court on previous occasions.

She said he has demonstrated his motivation to change his life for the better and he is at “the beginning of this road”.

Judge Sheahan sentenced McDonagh to four years imprisonment, but suspended the final six months on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months post release.

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