Wednesday 16 October 2019

Man who attacked former partner in front of children receives fully suspended sentence

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man who chased a former partner into a local community centre with a broken brush handle and attacked her in front of children has received a fully suspended sentence.

Liam Byrne (37) pulled a knife from a kitchen drawer and threatened to kill the woman after he had invited her to his home.

Garda Louise Moran said the woman managed to escape when Byrne's mother intervened, but he snapped a brush handle and chased her down the road. The woman later told gardaí that Byrne had made stabbing motions at her with this brush.

She ran into a nearby community centre dressing rooms, where Byrne hit her in front of children and threatened to kill her. He left when his mother again arrived on the scene.

Byrne, of Mariners Port, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and threats to kill at the same location on May 16, 2018. His 32 previous convictions include road traffic matters, drugs offences and attempted robbery.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to 21 months imprisonment, but suspended the entire sentence for a period of 21 months provided he keep the peace and be of good behaviour and engage with probation services.

Gda Moran told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that the woman was too embarrassed to seek medical treatment for her injuries, which included extensive bruising, marks from the brush handle and lumps on her head. She declined to make a victim impact statement.

The woman handed a letter to the court in which she said that she did not want Byrne to receive a prison sentence and said he was getting on well with their daughter. She told the court that she was prepared to forgive him for what he did provided he stays on the right path.

The garda agreed with Kenneth Kerins BL, defending, that the woman had been worried about Byrne's mental health and had communicated this with his mother.

She further agreed that his family had attempted to hospitalise him the day before the incident but he refused to go. She agreed that Byrne had not been on the garda radar.

Mr Kerins submitted to Judge Nolan that his client had had a difficult upbringing and that his father had been murdered. He said Byrne was a vulnerable man and had accepted that the incident was “deeply troubling and terrifying” for the injured party.

Judge Nolan noted that while the woman did not go to the doctor, she sustained injuries and had “real reason to apprehend her life was in danger”. He said Byrne had planned this attack, which could have been much more serious.

The judge accepted that Byrne has mental health difficulties, but said this had been induced by his own drug taking.

He told Byrne that the woman “has spoken up for you, she has kept you out of prison” and said that should he interfere with her or threaten her then he will serve the 21 month sentence in prison.

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