Tuesday 23 January 2018

Man avoids jail for violent assault on former partner

Andrew Kirwan (35) ordered to stay away from wife for the rest of his life

At one stage Andrew Kirwan grabbed his wife by her hair and banged her head against a stairs, court heard.
At one stage Andrew Kirwan grabbed his wife by her hair and banged her head against a stairs, court heard.

By Conor Gallagher and Declan Brennan

A Louth man has avoided jail for a violent assault on his former partner on condition that he stays away from her for the rest of his life.

Andrew Kirwan (35) was angry and drunk when he launched a “hail of verbal and physical abuse” on the woman. At one stage he grabbed her by her hair and banged her head against a stairs.

The woman was left badly bruised and her eye was swollen and blood shot. She had bruises on her arms and legs and bruises and cuts on her chest.

Kirwan of Bryanstown Court, Drogheda had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm but was convicted after a five day trial. 

Today Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy heard Kirwan has stayed out of trouble since his conviction and has completed an addiction course. The judge imposed a three year sentence which he suspended for three years on condition he continues to address his issues.

Prosecuting counsel Kerida Naidoo BL asked that there also be a condition that Kirwan stays away from his victim, not go anywhere she is likely to be and immediately leave any place if she is there. The judge agreed.

In a victim impact report, read to the court by Garda Louise McConnell, the woman said she was on anti-depressants for a year after the attack.

She said that while giving evidence in the trial she was made to feel like she was a bad person. She said she didn't deserve what happened to her and has found it difficult to move on.

During the trial she said her partner began beating her when they got home from a party after a row over someone she had previously slept with. She said he began constantly hitting her and was pulling her around by the hair.

She said that afterwards, she was sitting on the stairs when her boyfriend grabbed her head and banged it off the banister.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Kirwan has nine previous convictions. Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, said these relate to his problems with alcohol and involved theft of beer cans and intoxication in a public place.

Counsel said that there was medical evidence given during the trial that conflicted with the victim's testimony and suggested the injuries were more consistent with an open handed slap rather than with a closed fist used in a sustained attack.

After viewing photographs of the injuries taken after the attack Mr Justice McCarthy said that he didn't see how slapping of the hand could have caused some of the injuries.

Mr Hartnett said Kirwan wanted to apologise to the victim and that he was offering a €1,100 as a token of remorse.

He said his client had previously made efforts to stop drinking. He said that if he was successful this time he is unlikely to come before the courts again.

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