Man given two-month prison sentence for breaching order
A MAN was sentenced to two months in prison for breaching a barring order involving his former partner.
Francis Odiase (34), 10 Frederick Street, Dublin 1, has lodged an appeal so was released following his appearance in Bray District Court last Thursday.
The court heard that Paula Crean made the complaint on September 7, 2016, following an incident on August 25.
Ms Crean told the court that she had previously applied for a barring order.
‘He had gone to Nigeria for three weeks. While he was gone I asked for a barring order as he had been violent and abusive to me,’ she said.
She told the court that on the day in question he was supposed to arrive at Bray Dart Station at noon to collect their child but arrived at 12.45 p.m.
‘I said she [their daughter] had been upset; he said he’ll turn up when he wants,’ she said.
‘He rang me at 2 or 2.30 to collect her,’ said Ms Crean. ‘ They were down the beach.’
She said that an altercation arose between them in which Odiase was calling her names, would not let go of the child, and said she was going nowhere.
‘A woman came over and asked if I was OK,’ said Ms Crean. ‘He said I was nothing but a b*tch, a fat pig. It was very intimidating.’
She agreed in cross-examination that those words may not have been exchanged at the beach, but at the Dart station.
She said that when she threatened to call the gardaí, he let go of the child.
‘He had spat at me before, and called me names previous times,’ said Ms Crean.
Barrister Eibhlín Ní Raghallaigh said that there was nothing in her statement about him calling her any names at the seafront.
‘Maybe not fat pig, but he was screaming and shouting in my face,’ Ms Crean said.
‘My client instructs that matters did not happen in the way you described. He denies shouting at you, he denies being intimidating to you,’ said Ms Ní Raghallaigh.
A witness who was in the harbour area on August 25 and knew neither party, told the court that she intervened.
‘I was there with my nephew, niece and mum,’ said the woman. ‘I overheard a man’s voice, very loud and argumentative.
‘A man and a woman were arguing and a child was caught in between. My nephew got upset. The man seemed very angry and the child was very distressed. I decided to intervene, go and ask if they were OK and if they needed me to call the gardaí.
‘He was arguing with the lady. She seemed to be trying to keep calm. I was concerned for the woman and child and wanted to make sure they were safe.’
She said that while she was unsure of the time, she thought it might have been lunchtime as she and her family went to get something to eat after the incident.
She said that she couldn’t recall if the language used was vulgar, but that it was heated.
Ms Ní Raghallaigh argued that there was a discrepancy regarding the time of the specific incident, with Ms Crean saying it occurred at around 3 p.m., and the independent witness believing it occurred closer to 1 p.m.
She said also that two incidents had been referred to, at the station and at the seafront, and the charge sheet was not specific.
Judge David Kennedy said that he was satisfied that the incident in question was the second one, on the beach. With regard to time, he said that people would not exactly have been looking at their watches, on a summer’s day on the beach in Bray.
‘ There were certain inconsistencies,’ he said. But not enough to dismiss the case.
Odiase told the court that he arrived at the station at noon, and phoned Ms Crean at 3 p.m.
He said that the child was holding his leg, and that Ms Crean shouted ‘you black b*****d’ at him.
He said that a friend of Ms Crean’s also shouted at him. ‘ They were the ones shouting at me and calling me names,’ he said. ‘I did not. I can’t do that in the presence of my daughter.’
They went to McDonalds and then the seafront, he said. Odiase told the court that he was aware of the set visiting hours with his daughter and very clear on those.
‘I have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an offence took place,’ said Judge David Kennedy. ‘In his own evidence, he said that he arrived down and Ms Crean started abusing him with racial language. The independent witness has no connection to either party. The words “black b*****d’” are so shocking that, if heard, they would have been remembered.
‘I can’t accept his evidence regarding this. Both the injured party and the independent witness gave evidence as to his demeanour. That evidence is totally in contravention with his version of events.
‘He gave totally unbelievable evidence and accused Ms Crean of racially abusing him. I don’t know what his reason is for that – it’s totally incomprehensible and unbelievable.’
He noted that a totally independent witness had felt strongly enough to intervene and suggest calling the gardaí.
Ms Ní Raghallaigh told the court that matters have cooled off between the parties since that time and there have been no further complaints.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Kennedy said ‘ had he approached the matter differently I would have considered suspending the term.’