An Armagh man who dragged his ex-partner down a flight of stairs during a row over child contact has been sentenced to a probation order and community service.
He was charged with criminal damage and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, with both charges stemming from an incident which occurred on April 26 of last year.
The prosecution outlined that on that date, police received a report from the defendant, who stated that his ex-partner had attended his home address and started an argument over child contact.
This had allegedly escalated into pushing between the parties.
The injured party attended Armagh station, where police observed a cut on her lip, blood on her face and ripped clothing.
She alleged that she attended the defendant’s house to collect her children and, whilst at the property, the defendant became “highly aggressive”, forced her to the ground and dragged her down two flights of stairs.
The dispute continued in the yard where he is then alleged to have kicked her on the leg.
Police attended the address and the defendant was arrested. Whilst at the property, police spoke with the defendant’s mother who was present during the altercation.
She alleged that the injured party had entered the property and struck the defendant “across the face with a clenched fist”. The pair then began to “tussle with each other” at the top of the stairs before they both fell to the bottom.
Police viewed CCTV footage from the property which showed the defendant dragging the injured party along the ground by the shoulders whilst she was on her back.
Following this, the defendant allegedly kicked the injured party in the leg and slammed the car door closed against her body.
The defendant made an allegation of common assault against the injured party, alleging that she punched him on the neck and “scrabbed” his face and arms when she entered the property.
The injured party provided police with multiple photos showing “substantial bruising” all over her body.
Todd’s defence solicitor told the court that his client consented to a restraining order.
He said: “That’s significant as it demonstrates on his part both a degree of remorse for what happened here.” He added that the defendant had no intention of making contact with the injured party in the future.
Defence said that the incident was “unsavoury to say the very, very least”, and that the defendant was aware that this was “fairly despicable” behaviour, for which he has a “high degree of remorse”.
In mitigation, he added that the defendant had entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, which prevented the case from being dragged out unnecessarily, noting also that his client’s record is limited.
District Judge Anne Marshall said that this was an “absolutely appalling” incident.
However, District Judge Marshall concluded that given the defendant’s plea and his employment as a plumber, sending him straight to prison would not be appropriate.
To this end, the District Judge made an enhanced combination order, with two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
Three further conditions were imposed, namely that the defendant resides at an approved address, partakes in a programme designed to address domestic abuse and notifies probation if he develops or continues any intimate relationships.
The District Judge said: “If you do that probation order and community service, that will be an end to it. If you breach either element of that, you will come back and be resentenced and I hope I’ve made clear what the alternative is.”
A restraining order was also imposed for a period of two years.