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assault alleged Garda facing coercive control charges told ex-partner he would ‘stick knife in her’, court hears

The accused was remanded in custody with consent to bail despite garda objections.

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The Central Criminal Court (stock photo)

The Central Criminal Court (stock photo)

The Central Criminal Court (stock photo)

A serving garda facing 35 charges including sexual assault and coercive control of his ex-partner told her he would "stick a f****** knife in her" if she disrespected him, a court has heard.

During a lengthy bail hearing at Dublin district court this afternoon the alleged victim also gave evidence that she fears her ex-boyfriend will kill her, their young son, and himself.

The accused, who is aged in his early 40s and cannot be identified for legal reasons, was remanded in custody with consent to bail despite garda objections.

Detective Inspector Cormac Brennan, of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

He said the accused made no reply when each of the 35 charges were put to him at a Dublin garda station this morning.

The charges include two counts of sexual assault as well as coercive control, assault causing harm, criminal damage, theft, a threat to kill, threatening to cause criminal damage, coercion, endangerment, and harassment between 2017 and 2020.

Further charges also relate to offences via telecommunications.

Det Insp Brennan said the accused is a serving garda with over 20 years service who is currently suspended from duty as part of the "complex and lengthy" investigation.

The senior detective said he was objecting to bail citing the seriousness of the charges, the strength of the evidence in the case, and fears of witness intimidation.

Outlining the evidence, he said a 250-page statement has been taken from the injured party.

The court heard she is a woman in her 40s who has a young son with the accused, and is receiving ongoing treatment for a serious illness.

Det Insp Brennan said over 60,000 pieces of data had been recovered from the woman's phone and that there was telephone and witness evidence to corroborate her statements.

He added that the offences were allegedly committed for the sole purpose of the accused taking control of his now ex-partners life and that some carry maximum sentences of ten-years imprisonment on conviction.

The court heard the allegations of assault involved the accused punching her, pulling her hair out by the roots, grabbing her neck and trying to choke her, as well as kicking her while she was on the ground.

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In relation to the sexual assault complaints it is alleged the garda sat on top of his partner on two separate occasions and allegedly told her "look what I can do to you" before grabbing her genital area, hurting her.

The court heard the allegation of harassment was over a period of time and that around 65,000 messages were analysed with 90pc of these sent by the accused.

Det Insp Brennan said offensive messages were directed towards the injured party, including threats, degradation, and intimidation.

"Judge, in my service, I've never seen it. It's an experience for me," the senior officer said of the messages he has read.

There are also 10 criminal damage charges, the court heard.

Some of these are alleged to have occurred in the injured party's home while she was out. The accused is alleged to have taken photographs of the damage and sent it to his partner.

The court heard the threat to kill charge related to a WhatsApp messages allegedly sent by the accused to the injured party in August 2019.

Det Insp Brennan said it will be alleged the accused warned his partner that if she "ever disrespects him again he will go over to her and stick a f***king knife in her."

The senior investigator said he was also objecting to bail over fears of witness interference.

He said that, from his knowledge of the case, he believed the accused if granted bail would follow through on the threats he allegedly made.

The court heard the alleged victim previously made two complaints but withdrew these after being approached by the accused's friends.

"It is my belief that these approaches were orchestrated by (the accused) because he benefited from them," Det Insp Brennan said.

Under cross-examination, he said that later in December 2020 the accused made a criminal complaint against his ex-girlfriend's partner.

Asked if this was when the old complaint was "resurrected", the Detective Inspector said it was not.

He said the accused handed over his phone as part of that criminal investigation and when gardaí analysed the communications they approached his ex-girlfriend over concerns for her.

Describing the alleged nature of the relationship, he said the accused would start off with harassment to get his own way.

This, Det Insp Brennan said, would develop into threatening messages, criminal damage and later assault.

"Further other charges are being considered by the DPP," he said,

Defence solicitor Michael Kelleher put it to the court that his client would agree not to have any contact with her as part of bail conditions.

Det Insp Brennan responded by saying he believes the accused poses "potentially more a risk now than ever" because his ex-girlfriend stood up to him.

Giving evidence, the complainant said that her greatest fear now was that her ex-partner would kill her, their son, and himself.

"He's told me on many occasions that he will kill for me and (their son) and anyone that stops him," the woman told Judge Brian Smyth.

Mr Kelleher said the allegations were all denied and that they would be contested. He said it would be "serious" if his client was remanded in custody as a member of An Garda Síochána.

The solicitor also said his client would not receive a trial date until 2023. He said his client was willing to stay away from the geographical area where the complainant lived and that there would be no contact.

Mr Kelleher also said his clients enjoys the presumption of innocence and that there is no evidence of any allegations in recent times,

Following the lengthy hearing, Judge Brian Smyth said the accused enjoyed the presumption of innocence and was not satisfied that there was a case to be refused.

He said given the seriousness of the charges he was applying strict conditions including an independent surety.

They include entering an own bond of €500, an independent surety of €8,000, signing on daily at his local garda station, having no contact with the complainant or her family, and not to apply for any new travel documents.

Judge Smyth remanded the accused in custody with consent to bail and said that gardaí must be given 24 hours notice for the approval of an independent surety.

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