A young woman who has a protection order against her ex-partner claimed that he followed her on a long corridor at their shared workplace putting her in fear.
Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, put it to the complainant during a trial at an in-camera hearing of Cork District Court, “At no stage did you say, ‘Stop following me or I will call the guards'.”
The young woman said, “He is a very violent man. I was told to avoid him if he approaches and to keep walking and just ring the guards… He is a very sadistic man. You don’t know what I have been through.”
Names and details that would identify the parties cannot be published as the trial took place at an in camera hearing for a charge under the Domestic Violence Act.
The defendant denied breaching the Protection Order putting his ex-partner in fear. He said they both work in the same place and it was coincidental that he was walking on the same corridor at lunchtime on Wednesday, September 14. He said that all he said to her was to use her Christian name and say the word, ‘Sorry’.
He said he was saying sorry for the fact that their relationship had ended due to circumstances related to his drinking.
The complainant said, “I just thought it was bad timing that we bumped into each other. I kept walking but he kept up pace with me. I felt very intimidated… He kept following me out of (the premises).
“I got panicked. I didn’t know the outcome… I was petrified something might happen.” Mr Buttimer asked his client why he did not turn around and walk in the opposite direction when he found himself on the same corridor as his ex-partner. He replied, “That is my mistake.”
Judge Colm Roberts said after hearing from both sides, “I don’t doubt her evidence is honest. I don’t doubt she was genuinely in fear. I do doubt the fear was caused by his actions on this occasion. I think the fear is from past events.
“I have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that actions by the defendant on this occasion were a deliberate breach of the order and to cause fear.
The judge said the issue was not whether he was guilty of something in the past in the relationship but whether he was guilty on this occasion of breaching a protection order.
Dismissing the case, the judge said to the defendant, “When someone gets a protection order that means they don’t want to talk to you.”
Judge Roberts repeated to the complainant that he did not doubt her honesty and sincerity.