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Judge dismisses case against man for sending birthday card to daughter


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A judge has dismissed a prosecution against a father who was accused of breaching a safety order by sending a birthday card and a €20 note inside the card to his 12-year-old daughter.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan stated that “the case should not have been brought” against the 35-year-old Co Clare man.

Dismissing the charge brought under the Domestic Violence Act against the man, Judge Durcan stated: “I mean, if we have reached a stage in our society where a man is deemed to have breached a safety order by sending
a birthday card to his daughter…”

Asked was there anything in the birthday card by Judge Durcan, the man’s solicitor Stiofan Fitzpatrick stated: “Twenty euro.”

In reply Judge Durcan stated: “All right: next case.”

The man’s ex-partner secured a safety order at the Family Law Court in Ennis against the man in October 2019 and the safety order prohibited the man from communicating with the woman and her dependants.

The couple have three ­children together and the mother went to her local Garda station to make a formal complaint after receiving the birthday card for their daughter from her former partner on a date in early January of this year.

Arising from the formal complaint and the woman making a statement to gardaí, officers called to the home of the man on February 2 to arrest him for the suspected breach of the safety order by sending the birthday card.

The man was brought to Ennis District Court later that day where he appeared in ­connection with being charged with the alleged offence and he was released on bail.

The man was charged with, on a date in early January, contravening a safety order made on October 17, 2019,
“in that you communicated with a dependent person by sending a birthday card and cash”.

The man pleaded not guilty to the charge and Judge Durcan halted the case after the woman gave sworn evidence in the witness box that the alleged breach arose from her receiving the birthday card from her ex-partner.

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