Showbiz reporter Paul Martin gets restraining order after harassing estranged wife
“You strike me as somebody who struggles to accept when things don’t go your way,” the judge told Martin
A former newspaper editor convicted of harassing his estranged wife was today ordered to complete a six month probation order.
In addition to the six month order handed to Paul Martin at Ballymena Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick also imposed a 12 month restraining order in order to “afford the injured party protection from possible future behaviour.”
Following a brief contest in January 45-year-old Martin, from Leighinmohr Mews in Ballymena, was convicted of a single count of harassment in that between April 9 and June 28 last year, he “pursued a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment” of his estranged wife.
Giving a brief outline of the facts on Monday, a prosecuting lawyer told the court how the victim “received a WhatsApp me ssage from a number she believed belonged to the defendant concerning their son.”
She didn’t reply but received a further message a few hours later “threatening her with consequences if she interfered with the defendant’s relationship with his son,” said the lawyer.
In response, the victim sent a text to Martin’s mother “asking if she could stop the intimidating behaviour from him” but in response, Martin messaged her again.
He told the court that on April 9 and 13, the victim had received other messages and had told Martin “she was blocking his number and all contact should go through solicitors.”
With the victim left feeling “scared and anxious,” Martin was arrested but denied the offences right up to the point when he was convicted.
Although the PPS revealed “there’s a domestic violence report,” the details on it were not opened in court.
As Martin sat in the public gallery, wearing a grey suit and white shirt, defence counsel Connell Trainor said although the former Sunday Mirror editor and showbiz reporter had taken the case to contest where the victim had to give evidence, “he is very contrite in the pre-sentence report.”
He said Martin, who is “looking to get back into that line of work,” has a “number of health issues” which had been exacerbated by the marriage break up and he accepts it was under those circumstances “his judgement was poor and that persistently trying to make contact with the injured party, whatever his motivation and purpose, caused distress and fear, resulting in harassment.”
Revealing that Martin has a new relationship with a woman in America the lawyer said any prison sentence, even a suspended one, “will affect his ability to go and see her.”
He argued that despite already being on probation for a driving offence, Martin could be given a further supervision order, one that is “focused on relationships….and designed to address his offending.”
Highlighting how the harassment related to “five messages in 11 weeks,” Mr Trainor submitted that with ongoing contact with the children a restraining order “may not be necessary or proportionate.”
Sentencing Martin, DJ Broderick said it was unfortunate the “acrimonious break up” had resulted in criminal charges but that it was clear the former journalist had “handled the break up quite badly.”
“You strike me as somebody who struggles to accept when things don’t go your way and you need to reflect on that behaviour,” the judge told Martin.
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