Wednesday 21 March 2018

Celebrity fitness instructor in court on assault charges

Emma Murphy watched proceedings from the public gallery. Photo: Ernie Leslie
Emma Murphy watched proceedings from the public gallery. Photo: Ernie Leslie
Francis Xavier Usanga. Photo: Ernie Leslie

Tom Tuite

A TV fitness instructor has appeared in court on charges of assaulting his model ex-girlfriend.

Former 'Today' show fitness expert Francis Xavier Usanga (29), of Lanesboro, Finglas in north Dublin, is accused of assault causing harm to Emma Murphy at FX Fitness in Santry on July 3 last.

The charge is under Section Three of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

He appeared before Judge Patricia McNamara at Dublin District Court yesterday dressed in a grey pinstripe blazer and dark blue jeans.

Mother-of-two Ms Murphy (26), a model and fitness blogger, watched the proceedings from the public gallery.

Defence solicitor Daniel Hanahoe said it was the case's first listing in court.

Judge McNamara noted the charge and that the defence were asking for an order for disclosure of evidence. Det Sergeant Michael Mulligan told Judge McNamara that the DPP has directed summary disposal.

This means the case could be dealt with at district court level and not sent forward to the circuit court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

However, a final ruling on the trial venue has to be made.

Judge McNamara asked if the defence wanted the jurisdiction issue to be decided. However, Mr Hanahoe asked for that not to be done at this stage.

He was granted an adjournment until May 5 next to allow gardai time to provide disclosure of evidence.

Mr Usanga, who was accompanied to court by his mother, has not yet entered a plea to the charge.

An outline of the facts may be heard on the next date, when the judge will decide on the trial venue issue.

'Red Rock'

The fitness expert did not address the court but nodded to his solicitor when the judge announced his next court date.

Nigerian-born Mr Usanga previously appeared in TV3's 'Red Rock' series and has also appeared as a fitness trainer on RTE's popular 'Today' show, which is presented by Dáithí Ó Sé and Maura Derrane, on a number of occasions.

A former 'BScene' agency model, he also appeared in Jennifer Maguire's dating series 'One Night Stand' in 2010.

He formerly worked at FX Fitness in Santry.

Yesterday, Judge McNamara granted him free legal aid after she was furnished with a statement of his means and noted he is currently unemployed.

Irish Independent

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