A 57-year-old man who put his wife in fear during a drunken incident will avoid a prison sentence if he confines his drinking to beer and stays clear of spirits.
Judge Con O’Leary said that if the man did drink spirits then he would be putting himself at risk of serving a one-month prison term.
Judge O’Leary imposed that sentence but suspended it on particular terms at an in-camera hearing of Cork District Court today dealing with a breach of domestic violence legislation.
The 57-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge of breaching a safety order by putting his wife in fear on May 8 at the front door of the family home.
After hearing an outline of what happened on that date from Inspector Conor Dillon, Judge O’Leary asked the defendant’s wife to step forward in the courtroom.
“What do you want him to do?” the judge asked the complainant.
She replied, “I have nothing against him having a few beers once or twice a week but when spirits come into it, it is a problem.”
As soon as the complainant made that comment, Judge O’Leary made the following order: “One month imprisonment suspended on condition that he enters a bond not to consume any alcohol, save beer, for 12 months.”
The judge then turned to the complainant and explained the effect of the order.
“I am sentencing him to prison but suspending it on condition he only drinks beer. That is what you are suggesting,” Judge O’Leary said to the complainant.
She replied, “Yes, no problem when he only drinks beer.”
The judge went on to clarify, “And obviously, he must be of good behaviour and does not damage his own domestic dwelling and assault or threaten his wife. He has to stay off spirits.
“If he does, he goes to prison, for a short period, but he goes,” the judge said.
Defence solicitor, Shane Collins-Daly, said the parties continue to reside together and have reconciled since the incident.
“He is pleading guilty to this offence. He openly admits drink would be an issue but he has cut down hugely in recent years,” Mr Collins-Daly said.
Inspector Dillon said, “The defendant had been drinking all day and returned home at 9pm. He kicked the front door and was verbally abusive to his wife.
"He put her in fear in her own home. He was arrested in the front garden of the house.
While the defendant had no convictions since 2016 he had a total of 19 convictions for offences including breaches of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act.