A judge sent a man to the cells after he asserted his ‘free speech’ rights to name-call his girlfriend “a dirtbag, a dirty riding tramp and a c*nt’ while she was holding their young baby in her arms.

During a contested Domestic Violence case at the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin instructed the court Garda to take the man to the court cells and he remained there for three hours.

Before instructing the Garda, Judge Larkin told the man, “I have heard quite enough. You are aggressive. You think you can speak to anyone in the way you have. You laughed here earlier. You were totally inappropriate”.

Judge Larkin said: “This man will go down to the cells and he will contemplate and come back up and apologise.”

The man was in court representing himself in a case where his ex-girlfriend and mother of their young baby was seeking a Safety Order against him.

Solicitor for the woman, Ann Walsh put it to the man in the witness box that the names he called his partner at the time earlier this year “are unacceptable”.

In response, the man said: “It is not acceptable to use free speech? So that is what you are telling me?”

Ms Walsh told the man he called his then girl-friend “a dirtbag, a dirty riding tramp and a c*nt”.

In response, the man said: “These are names that people say in an argument all the time.”

Asked by Ms Walsh does he think it okay to use these names, the man replied: “I think it is okay to say if you are arguing with someone.”

The man said that he didn’t recall that the couple’s young baby was in her arms at the time.

In a separate incident on another date, the applicant for the Safety Order said that her then partner was roaring and shouting accusing her of cheating.

She said: “I fell asleep and he came in and poured water over me and told me that he would fix me and then he went out to the kitchen. I followed him and he put a knife to my throat.”

The woman also stated that at his parents’ house he hit her twice. Since the woman obtained a temporary Protection Order in the court in April, the man has stayed away from here.

In evidence, the man said that any alleged incidents of domestic violence did not occur. He dismissed any previous incidents as ‘hearsay’.

In response, Judge Larkin said: “Will you stop it? You know nothing about law. It is not hearing. She is giving her own evidence.”

After three hours in the cells, Judge Larkin summons the man back to court.

The man – chastened from his time in the court cell – told Judge Larkin “I would like to apologise to the court and to yourself”.

Judge Larkin said that he should get a solicitor to represent him and adjourned the Safety Order application. Judge Larkin said she would continue the Protection Order until the adjourned date of July 21st.

 

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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