A judge has lashed out at a father for spending over €400 on ‘fiddlydyedoes’ and ‘diddlydodas’ from online sex shop ‘Love Honey’ while falling behind in maintenance payments for his young son.
By Gordon Deegan
At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin told the man “you have an absolute cheek coming in here expecting me to believe what you are saying because I don’t believe a word of it”.
The man told Judge Larkin that he has fallen behind in maintenance payments because he is ‘struggling’ on his weekly social welfare payment of €203 and has no other income.
However, solicitor for the mother, Mairéad Doyle produced in court bank statement details of over €400 the man has spent in four separate payments between March and July to online sex shop ‘Love Honey’.
Judge Larkin told the man: “You wouldn’t be spending over half your money on a ‘fiddlydyedoe’ if you had only €203 a week.”
Judge Larkin told him: “You tell me how you can come in here and tell me that if you are on €203 a week and you are spending €139 and another €139 on a ‘fiddlydyedoe?’”
In response, the man said: “It was a mistake judge.”
In reply, Judge Larkin told him: “No. It wasn’t a mistake because you didn’t have one bother with money because otherwise you wouldn’t have spent the money.”
Judge Larkin said that anyone on €200 a week would be worried about how much they spend on food, ESB and all the other bills. She said: “You would not be paying that kind of money for an absolute nonsense.”
Judge Larkin asked the man: “How can you afford to spend that kind of recreational money when you have €203 to live off?”
In reply, the man said: “I can’t afford it judge.”
The maintenance order in place is that the man pays €45 maintenance towards his son per weekly but he is paying only €25 at present towards the primary school going boy.
Judge Larkin has now raised the maintenance payment to €80 per week and all arrears are to be paid by October 7th.
Judge Larkin said that she was satisfied that the man “is extremely well off” after hearing evidence that he is the owner of two houses with no mortgages and has had cash businesses.
Judge Larkin stated: “He obviously can buy ‘diddlydodas’ or whatever you want to call those things whenever he wants without any regard to the cost or the expense which is obviously not the activity of a man who is on €203 a week.”
Judge Larkin said that the man – aged in his 40s – was very good at collecting cash and is very good with money.
Judge Larkin said that the man “is an able hard working man and has raised substantial sums of money to build two houses”.
Ms Doyle of Shannon based legal firm, Carmody and Co Solicitors explained to Judge Larkin that ‘Love Honey’ “is a website for buying sex toys and general erotica”.
Ms Doyle said that bank statements show that the man made two separate payments of €139 each to Love Honey in March and another payment of €98.60 in June along with a fourth payment to bring the total up to over €400.
Ms Doyle stated that the ‘Love Honey’ payments were made during a period when he gave her client €8 in one week for maintenance and then decided that he wasn’t going to abide to a maintenance court order and gave nothing and then decided to pay over €25 to her.
Ms Doyle told the man: “At the same time, you were able to afford to spend over €400 on this kind of rubbish. In June when he was claiming to be badly broken, he was still managing to pay €100 to ‘Love Honey’ to entertain himself”.
Asked to explain the spend on ‘Love Honey’ by Judge Larkin, the man replied from the witness box ‘Judge, I have a social life”.
Ms Doyle said that the man has had a substantial cash business and has no mortgage on two houses he owns that he built with cash.
Ms Doyle told him: “You are lying through your teeth – you think you are making fools of all of us but you are not.”
Asked why he has allowed maintenance arrears of €302 to build up, the man replied: “I am struggling at the moment.”
In response, Ms Doyle stated: “You weren’t struggling in June when you were paying €100 into ‘Love Honey’. You weren’t struggling then were you?”
Judge Larkin stated that the man is “very loose and fast with the truth” after hearing evidence that his ex-partner only learned of the existence of a child he had from a previous relationship three days after they broke up.
Judge Larkin said: “Talk about the right hand not knowing what your left hand is going? You lived with this woman for years and you don’t tell her that you have another child?”
In evidence, the mother seeking the increased maintenance stated that “three days after I left the house someone told me by accident that he had another child”.
The court was told that the man has been making payments of €12.70 a week towards the maintenance of his other child for the past 18 to 19 years and gave the child money on several occasions.
The mother told the court said that she suffers from complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and her ex “is a trigger”.
She said that the man has a safe in his house where he deposits the cash from his cash businesses.
Solicitor for the man, Colum Doherty said that his client doesn’t operate on the black market and the woman said that this is untrue.
The woman said that her ex-partner video records her at the hand-over of their child and Judge Larkin ordered that all video-recording is to stop.
Judge Larkin described the recording as ‘intimidation’.