*The sitting took place at Kilrush District Court. 

A judge has told a man that his ex-partner “is not your property’ and “no means no” after finding that the man punched and head-butted her after she refused to have sex with him on different dates.

At Kilrush District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett found the man guilty of three assaults against his now ex-partner and three breaches of a Safety Order she had obtained against him.

The couple have a number of children together and in evidence the woman told the court, “I do know that most of the arguments in the house were escalated by him because I was refusing to have sex a lot towards the end of the relationship”.

She said the arguments escalated and “it was mostly around sex and me refusing to have sex”.

The woman told the court “violence escalated and it was all down to the fact that I couldn’t bear to have him near me anymore”.

The woman alleged that in September 2022 in two incidents, the man punched her in the back and head butted her after she refused to have sex.

The couple were not married and now live apart and in evidence the man denied ever striking the woman. He said, “I love the girl – we have children together”.

The man in his late 30s and with no previous convictions said, “I never hit the girl. I never hit a man before. I socialised in Ennis for 20 years and I was never in trouble”.

He added, “I never hit that girl, or pulled her hair or head butted her. If I head-butted her in the head, she would have two black eyes”.

The man said that the couple’s arguments were about money.

However, Judge Gabbett found that the woman’s evidence “was very credible”.

He said, “It is consistent and the common threads where initiating sex or money leads to a row and an assault”.

He said, “This was a semi-coercive or coercive relationship in my view”.

Judge Gabbett said that it was very difficult for a woman to talk about sex from a private relationship in a courtroom setting.

Addressing the man, Judge Gabbett said, “‘No’ means ‘no’ and consent comes into it. If it is not handled the way you want to she will find herself getting a punch or a head-butt”.

Judge Gabbett told the man, “This notion that you love her and that you can touch her is completely misguided. She is not your property”.

Judge Gabbett told the man, “There is a reason Gardai came to your home within 20 minutes because there is the history of you assaulting your partner quite seriously”.

He said, “I don’t know if you appreciate the gravity of the Gardai coming out within 20 minutes to your home – it is because they are very concerned about your partner and your children”.

Judge Gabbett told the man that there “are very serious criminal proceedings against you now” and said that he would order a Probation Report.

Judge Gabbett suggested that the man engage with MOVE or (Men Overcoming Violence) before the next court date.

Judge Gabbett adjourned the case to June 18th for the Probation Report to be carried out.

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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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