A PORTLAOISE man who punched his ex-partner in the face was given an eight-month prison sentence at last week’s district court.
The court heard from Garda Orla Clarke, that Christopher O’Brien, of 59 Hillview Drive, Knockmay, was in Portlaoise town centre on February 9, when he encountered his ex-partner in Euro Giant, Lyster Square. The injured party, Ms Nicole Carroll, had a barring order in place against O’Brien. Words were exchanged between the two, and in the course of the incident Ms Carroll received a punch, leaving her with a swollen and bruised eye.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that O’Brien and Ms Carroll had a “fractious relationship”. O’Brien had not anticipated meeting Ms Carroll on the day and had been surprised to see her. Ms Fitzpatrick said that Ms Carroll called O’Brien back and they spoke, and during the exchange a mention was made of the couple’s son. Ms Fitzpatrick admitted that her client had anger management issues.
“He’s not proud of his actions,” said Ms Fitzpatrick. “This was not premeditated.”
Judge Catherine Staines said there was no excuse for O’Brien punching Ms Carrol and she imposed the eight-month sentence. The judge refused defence’s application to backdate the sentence to the date O’Brien first went into custody, February 11, although she fixed recognizance in the event of an appeal on his own cash bond of €100.
O’Brien was already in custody at last week’s court, having been found guilty of criminal damage the previous week.
At the February 28 sitting, O’Brien contested the criminal damage charge and two charges of breaching a barring order. The offences were alleged to have been committed at 39 Dr Murphy Place, Portlaoise, on December 9 last year, and 131 St Brigid’s Place, Portlaoise, on January 25. The injured party on both dates was Ms Carroll.
Ms Carroll gave evidence that O’Brien “held me prisoner in my own home” on December 9, and that on January 25 he threatened to slit her throat.
Judge Staines struck out both charges of breaching a barring order, as Ms Carroll gave evidence that on one occasion she allowed O’Brien to enter her house, while on the other she invited him via text message to attend at her mother’s.
“(He) should not have been allowed back into the house,” ruled the judge.
In relation to the criminal damage charge, the court heard that on January 25, O’Brien picked up a garden gate and threw it at the front door of the house Ms Carroll was in, breaking the panelling of the PVC door.
Judge Staines convicted O’Brien and sentenced him to two months, backdated to February 11.
At the end of the case, during which both Ms Carroll and O’Brien made outbursts disrupting the running of the court, Judge Staines told both parties that they had anger management issues.
“Whatever your feelings for each other you are responsible for a young child,” she said.