Sunday 8 December 2019

Man convicted of threatening to cause his wife serious harm on two occasions as their marriage was breaking down

The CCJ complex
The CCJ complex

Conor Gallagher

A man has been convicted of threatening to cause his wife serious harm on two occasions as their marriage was breaking down.

A jury is still considering allegations of rape, assault causing harm and threats to kill or cause harm against the 42 year old man. The eleven men and one woman have been deliberating for six hours so far and will resume today.

The Central Criminal Court jury convicted the man of threatening to cut his wife's face open with a cleaver in their kitchen on May 25th, 2014. The man denied making the threat and claimed he only had a butter knife in his hand as he was making their son a sandwich.

The eleven day trial heard the couple's marriage was under stress and the man was unhappy about the woman's successful career and the amount of attention she was giving to their infant son. He told the court he felt she was neglecting the home and spending too much time with work and her child.

In early 2014 the woman said she wanted to separate but the accused asked her to reconsider. She told the trial that accused would pace the floor, becoming increasingly aggressive and telling her they weren't separating.

“One night he said 'as long as we’re both staying in this house I’m going to have sex with you',” she told the court.

She said he became very aggressive and told her “I can do this if I want; I can rape you if I want.”

The woman said on May 25, 2014 they were arguing about the separating when he told her: “We’re finished talking, we’re staying together. I’ve decided we’re staying together. You don’t get to decide this. It will be my choice if we ever separate.”

She said he took up a knife and said he would cut her face open. This constitutes the first threat to cause harm count. The jury is still considering if he is guilty of ordering the woman upstairs that night and raping her.

The trial heard the woman went to the Family Court the next day and obtained an interim barring order.

Jurors also returned a guilty verdict on a charge of making a threat to cause serious harm in a supermarket on June 9, 2014.

The trial heard evidence the accused followed her to the supermarket where he told her he knew everywhere she had been that day. He demanded to see their son and tried to grab her car keys from her. He then told her “next time I'll bring a hammer.” This constitutes the second threat to cause harm charge.

The woman alleged that as she was driving away, the accused was following her and crashed into the back of her car at the traffic lights. The child was in the back of her car, she said.

In relation to the outstanding assault causing harm charge, today/yesterday (WED) the jury foreman asked the court if they had to be certain the accused assaulted his wife by head-butt in order to return a guilty verdict on that count. Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy responded that jurors must be convinced it was a head-butt.

The accused has already pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife with a hammer in August 2014.

He has pleaded not guilty to rape, assault causing harm and four counts of threats to kill or cause serious harm between May and August, 2014.

The jury had previously been instructed to return a not guilty verdict on a fifth threat charge.

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