Wednesday 17 January 2018

TV fitness coach Francis Usanga pleads not guilty to alleged attack on former partner Emma Murphy

Emma Murphy and Francis Usanga
Emma Murphy and Francis Usanga

Tom Tuite

TV fitness guru Francis Usanga has pleaded not guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend and will go on trial in November.

The 29-year-old former Today show fitness expert with an address at Lanesboro, Finglas in north Dublin is accused of assault causing harm to model Emma Murphy. The attack allegedly took place at FX Fitness gym in Santry  in north Dublin on July 3 last year.

The charge is under Section Three of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. He made his third appearance Dublin District Court on Thursday.

Mother-of-two, Ms Murphy (26) a model and fitness blogger, did not attend the proceedings but had been present for an earlier hearing.

Dressed in a black coat, yellow T-shirt, grey trousers and black runners, Mr Usanga remained silent during the hearing. The prosecution had already been ordered to provide disclosure of evidence to the defence.

His solicitor Daniel Hanahoe told Judge Hugh O'Donnell that a hearing date was required. He confirmed, when asked by the judge, that his client was pleading not guilty to the charge.

Judge O'Donnell ordered that the non-jury district court trial would take place on a date in November.

The DPP has directed summary disposal. This means the case should not be sent forward to the circuit court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

Earlier, medical reports were furnished to the court which also heard an outline of the allegations.

“It will be alleged that the altercation occurred following a dispute between both parties, there had been series of rows,” Det Sergeant Michael Mulligan has told the court.

Jurisdiction was accepted meaning the case will remain in the district court which, on conviction, can impose a sentence of up to 12 months as well as fine.

Mr Usanga previously appeared in TV3’s Red Rock series and has also appeared as a fitness trainer on RTE’s The Today Show presented by Daithi O Se and Maura Derrane on a number of occasions.

A former BScene model, he also appeared in Jennifer Maguire’s dating series, One Night Stand, in 2010. He formerly worked at FX Fitness, in Santry, north Dublin.

At his previous hearing on March 30, free legal aid was granted after a statement of his means was furnished to the court which was also told he is currently unemployed.

Last year Ms Murphy made a video in which she spoke about the alleged assault and it went viral online.

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