Man blames serious assault on wife on his alcohol dependency
Woman required hospitalisation after being punched and kicked by her husband, court hears
Dublin District Family Court had heard that the man seriously assaulted his wife after a family event earlier this month. Photograph: Alan Betson
A man who seriously assaulted his wife blamed his violence on alcohol dependency brought on by cancer treatment, the Dublin District Family Court heard on Wednesday.
At an application for a barring order, the man’s solicitor said his client had an extraordinary run of misfortunes with his health over the past few years.
He contracted a serious disease in 2014, then got cancer that required surgery and chemotherapy, and when recovered, contracted another serious illness. This had affected both his physical and mental health, the solicitor told Judge Gerard Furlong.
“All of that led to an alcohol dependency,” he said. As the solicitor addressed the judge, his client cried quietly.
The solicitor said his client was not drinking all the time, but when out at family functions he “simply can’t stop”. This had led to the “incident” complained of.
The court had heard the man seriously assaulted his wife after a family event earlier this month. He had urinated in the couple’s bedroom and an argument ensued. The man severely kicked and punched his wife and she had to be hospitalised as a result. She obtained an ex parte – one side only – emergency barring order, to put him out of the family home, last week.
On Wednesday a full hearing of the case was due to take place.
The man’s solicitor blamed his client’s urination in the bedroom on his cancer surgery. He said his client accepted what had happened and admitted there had been previous incidents of violence. He was “extraordinarily contrite and regretful”, the solicitor said, and willing to attend a psychologist and Alcoholics Anonymous.
He suggested his client could swear an undertaking to the court, “in precisely the same terms as a barring order”, instead of the court hearing evidence and making a barring order.
“It may be their marriage is salvageable,” he said. “The possibility of salvage if the case runs will recede somewhat.”
He said he was trying to ensure “whatever possibility there is to save their marriage, remains intact”.
The solicitor for the woman said his client would not accept an undertaking and wanted a barring order for three years.
He handed in photographs of the woman’s injuries and a medical report from the hospital where she was treated. He said his client’s husband had blackouts from alcohol, and had shown no remorse to date. He also said some violent incidents pre-dated 2014.
After a short adjournment, the husband consented to a barring order for 18 months and his wife agreed. The judge noted there was an agreement the husband could apply to discharge the order not earlier than 12 months if he took certain steps, including attending a psychologist and Alcoholics Anonymous.
“There will be no point in your client issuing an application to discharge unless he has all his ducks in a row,” the judge warned.
In a separate case, the judge granted an ex parte protection order to a man against his former partner.
The man said his ex-partner had left their home earlier this summer with their two children, but had come back a number of times since and had punched him. Most recently, she had punched him around the kitchen and he had bruises on his arms and abdomen. She had also locked him out of the house. He said he was afraid of his wife.
The judge granted him a protection order to run until November, when a full safety order hearing will take place.
“Do the children remain with her?” the man asked.
The judge told the man he could apply to court for access and custody of the children.