AN elderly couple who are married almost fifty years came to court together yesterday where the woman complained that her husband assaulted her in the car and he claimed she was dangerous driving.
The case was dealt with at an in camera hearing of Cork District Court yesterday.
The woman testified that her husband called her “a bitch and a whole lot of horrible names” and then punched her hand on the gearstick as she was driving.
“He started interfering with all the controls of the car. He hit my hand really really hard when it was on the gearstick and he punched me on the shoulder,” she testified.
By the time they got home the man rang gardaí and complained that his wife had been guilty of dangerous driving earlier that afternoon.
The gardaí arrived and spoke separately to both parties. They did not prosecute the woman on a dangerous driving charge. They did prosecute the man on a charge of breaching a protection order.
He contested the case against him yesterday.
Tom Coughlan, defence solicitor, said the accused sustained a severe head injury years before. The defendant’s wife said she did not know how serious it was as he had been able to return to work for a further three years in what she described as a responsible job.
That day she drove to a number of shops including a hardware tool store where she said she beeped for him to come out as he was inside for an hour. She said that on the journey home he assaulted her.
Mr Coughlan said his client suffered memory loss that and that his behaviour could be up and down and unpredictable.
The defendant’s wife said: “He has been unpredictable for a long time. He is very aggressive and threatening. I don’t blame the accident for that.” Mr Coughlan suggested the defendant had particular problems travelling in the car. The complainant agreed with that.
“How did he come to court today?” Mr Coughlan asked. The complainant replied, “I brought him to court today in the car. But I have told him if there is a word out of him I head for one of those places (two garda stations between their home and the courthouse).”
Mr Coughlan applied to have the charge of breaching the protection order dismissed because the location for the alleged breach was incorrect on the charge sheet.
Judge Con O’Leary said there was a discrepancy in the times given in evidence and the judge said he was not prepared to convict on a breach of a protection order when a copy of the order was not presented in evidence. The case was dismissed.