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Woman remains unconscious following Ennis assault as man charged with causing significant harm

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*Patrick Ballard

A woman remains in an unconscious state in hospital and has sustained serious head injuries after she was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend in the Market area of Ennis on Thursday evening.

By Gordon Deegan

At a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday evening, Patrick Ballard (34) of Ashford Court hotel, Ennis was charged with the assault causing harm of his girlfriend, Sharon Bennett in Ennis’s Market area on Thursday evening.

Giving evidence of the arrest, charge and caution, Det Garda Noelle Bergin told the court that after caution at 6.22pm on Friday evening, Mr Ballard replied “I’m sorry for what happened.”

Mr Ballard was first arrested concerning the alleged assault at 6.30pm on Thursday evening and was later questioned by Gardai after being medically assessed.

Det Bergin stated: “The alleged injured party has been in an unconscious state since the alleged assault as a result of sustaining serious head injuries.”

Det Bergin stated that pending more medical evidence it is likely that a more serious charge will be considered by the State. She stated that Gardai has received a number of independent eye witnesses statements concerning the alleged assault as part of their investigation.

The detective stated that CCTV footage from a number of premises in the vicinity of the alleged assault has also been harvested.

Opposing bail, Det Bergin stated that Gardai have a fear that Mr Ballard would seek to interfere with the injured party as he has all knowledge of her personal information. Det Bergin stated that Gardai were also opposing bail concerning the seriousness of the charge before the court.

Det Bergin stated that Mr Ballard is a drug user and an alcoholic.

Solicitor for Mr Ballard, Tara Godfrey told the court that Mr Ballard has been living under the care of the Simon Community at the Ashford Court hotel in Ennis.

Ms Godfrey stated that due to the Covid 19 pandemic, upcoming trials for Ennis Circuit Court have been cancelled and the reality is is that if that Mr Ballard doesn’t obtain bail, he will be on remand in custody for a significant period of time awaiting trial.

Ms Godfrey stated that Mr Ballard suffers from significant psychiatric difficulties and has spent the last number of years more often than not homeless. Ms Godfrey stated that Mr Ballard was willing to abide by strict bail conditions and that there is no evidence that he would interfere with any witness in the case.

Patrick Ballard.

Insp Helen Costello told the court that the evidence in the case would clearly indicate that the alleged assault “is at the upper end of a Section 3 assault causing harm charge”.

Insp Costello stated that “there is very strong evidence to support the charge before the court”.

Judge Mary Cashin refused bail and remanded Mr Ballard in custody to appear at Ennis District Court via video link next Wednesday on February 3rd.

Judge Cashin granted legal aid to Ms Godfrey to represent Mr Ballard and also asked that Mr Ballard receive immediate psychiatric assistance while in custody.

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