Girl (7) asked father to stop punching her mother, court hears

Former University of Ulster professor appeals against sentence for assaulting wife

The seven-year-old daughter of a former University of Ulster professor had to ask her dad to stop punching her mother, a judge heard on Tuesday. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The seven-year-old daughter of a former University of Ulster professor had to ask her dad to stop punching her mother, a judge heard on Tuesday. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

The seven-year-old daughter of a former University of Ulster professor had to ask her dad to stop punching her mother, a judge heard on Tuesday.

Defence lawyers told Downpatrick County Court the eldest daughter of 51-year-old Juan Augusto saw him punch his wife in the face approximately three times during a single incident.

However, prosecuting lawyer Laura Ievers also alleged “there was an attempt to strangle, there was kicking, there was stamping and it was a sustained incident”.

Ms Ievers said the girl’s interview with police officers was recorded on video.

In the video, the girl said she saw her father striking her mother, but she “told him to desist and not only did he stop but he immediately expressed remorse and phoned the emergency services”.

The court also heard there were allegations that Augusto tried to “pull [his wife’s] teeth” and that she was “rendered unconscious” in the alleged strangulation.

Jail sentence

Earlier this year, Augusto, originally from Argentina, with an address on the Belfast Road in Comber, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to his wife Julie-Ann Augusto on August 13th last year and was handed a three-month jail term by Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare.

He was released on bail pending appeal against the sentence, which was scheduled for Tuesday.

However, on Tuesday the case was adjourned by Judge Piers Grant until Thursday.

The judge urged the prosecution and defence to “see if they can achieve an agreed statement of facts”.

The judge granted Augusto continuing bail but said this did not mean that he would “not necessarily serve a custodial sentence”.

The judge said he would fix a date for the appeal this Thursday but excused Augusto from attending that day.