Wednesday 22 November 2017

Man 'rang ex wife 120 times in one night', court hears

A man accused of breaching a barring order 'rang his ex wife 120 times in one night', the district court has heard.

Derek Clelland, (45), 97 Cherryvale, Bay Estate, had denied two counts of breaching the order, taken out by his ex-wife on November 26 last year. The defendant pleaded not guilty to alleged breaches of the order at the Armagh Road on March 21 when Gardai alleged he called to his mother in law's house demanding to see his two children, and at Bay Estate on 23-24 March.

Clelland was found not guilty on the first charge and the second incident, about which it is alleged he contacted his ex-wife 120 times by phone while she was in her home on her own, has been adjourned to next month for the investigating Garda, who is now stationed in Limerick, to attend.

Judge Flann Brennan heard evidence from the defendant's ex-wife who alleged that she had taken two of the couple's three children to her mother's house on the Armagh Road and claimed she had seen Clelland in the area that morning. She said she had sent Clelland a message saying that he could not collect the children 'as he had done it before with the child minder' and she also warned her mother to 'keep an eye out'.

At around 3pm, she got a call from her mum alleging that Clelland was outside the house and she contacted the Gardai before going to the scene herself. The woman's mother told the court how Clelland had called to the back of the house that day while she was minding his two children and another grandson.

She said Clelland was waving in the back window and she told him to leave and if he wanted to see the children, he could 'go through the proper channels'. The defendant's two kids were upstairs at the time but knew their father was outside. The other grandson became upset, the mother in law said. Under cross examination from solicitor Niall Breen, the woman said that the other grandson was the most upset.

Gardai attended the scene and Clelland was located at a house across the road from his mother in law. The officer went to speak to Clelland and told him he believed he was in breach of the barring order. Clelland said: 'How did I breach the order?' and Gardai said he was 'highly abusive' to them following his arrest telling one Garda: 'I hope your marriage breaks up and your children and taken away from you'.

Gardai believed him to be 'slightly intoxicated'

Mr Breen asked Judge Flann Brennan to find Clelland not guilty on this charge. Mr Breen said the offence alleged that Clelland's children were upset and he pointed out that the ex-wife's mother had not said that in evidence. Inspector Martin Beggy agreed that the witness had not said the children were in fear and Judge Brennan dismissed this charge.

Clelland's ex-wife also gave evidence alleging a second breach of the order on March 23-24. She said she started receiving calls from a blocked number at around 11pm and initially ignored them, but on the first occasion she answered, she claimed she heard her husband telling her: 'I'm out the back garden'. The second time she said he told her he was watching her and he could see her.

She said the calls continued until 6.30am and there were 119 missed calls on her phone. She said the calls put her in fear and she was in the house on her own.

She said: 'I had to go to work in the morning; it had a huge effect on me because it was non-stop, constant'.

Mr Breen raised the issue of the investigating Garda not being in court and said the officer had put in his statement that he was in the house when one of the calls was answered and the woman put the caller on loud speaker.

Inspector Beggy said he purposely didn't introduce this in evidence from the ex wife as the Garda was not available as they are now stationed in elsewhere. Mr Breen applied to the judge to have his client found not guilty on the charge as he claimed Clelland had been prejudiced by not having the investigating Garda in court to cross examine.

But Inspector Beggy said he had deliberately not referred to the Garda's evidence when asking the ex-wife about what happened. The officer is on paternity leave. Judge Brennan said if the defence wanted the Garda in court, that could be arranged and adjourned the case to December 14.

Irish Independent

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