Man threatened to kill mother of his child, court hears

Woman tells family court ‘I cannot even walk to the shops’ due to man’s behaviour

"He's starting a lot of bother lately," a woman told Judge John Campbell during a sitting of Dublin District Family Court on Tuesday. "I can't even walk to the shops."

The man in question, who lives near her, is the father of one of her children, the woman explained in the court, where a fraction of the normal level of business is being done because of the coronavirus crisis.

The woman said the man had “tried to drag me out of the house” on Saturday when she visited a friend to have a few drinks to celebrate a birthday.

On Monday night he turned up outside a house, threatening to kill her, and frightening the children, the court heard. She did not call the police because the man “just cycled off”, but she had since been advised to approach the court.


Mr Justice Campbell issued a protection order against the man, who would be arrested if he breached it by using or threatening to use violence, or besetting the woman in any way. He gave the order a return date of June 22nd, when the man would have a right to be heard.

Currently the family court is only dealing with interim barring order cases, or ex-parte applications (one side only).

Where normally four judges would be sitting, now there is only one per day.

Separate cases

As well as one ex-parte application, Mr Justice Campbell heard two interim barring order cases on Tuesday.

A woman secured a two-year barring order against her adult son, who had been drinking heavily in the apartment they shared, sometimes with friends.

When she entered the witness box to give evidence, the woman, who was wearing latex gloves, held her right hand so that it hovered over the Bible as she took the oath. Her son, who was the subject of an interim barring order last week, did not turn up for the latest hearing.

The interim order was sought, she said, because “I’m really afraid, he is every evening drunk. I am working hard, really hard, and he is drunk every evening, and is not in control of himself.”

She is afraid the landlord will throw her out of the property, where she and her son are the only tenants. Since last week the woman has spoken on the phone with her son.

“He says he is sorry, sorry, sorry. He is speaking nicely because he is afraid.”

Mr Justice Campbell granted the order.

“It is always a sad day when the court has to issue a barring order against an adult son,” he said.

Order against partner

The second barring order case involved a woman who said she sought an interim order last week against her partner because she was afraid for herself and their children.

The man, who has mental health issues, was very abusive, both verbally and physically.

“I just can’t take it any more,” she said.

Mr Justice Campbell asked the man – who was not legally represented – if he had any questions, or wanted to give evidence.

No, he replied.

Mr Justice Campbell granted a three-year barring order.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent