Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Wife-beaters ‘getting off scot-free’

A High Court judge has spoken out about suspected wife-beaters getting off “scot-free” because their alleged victims withdraw complaints.

Mr Justice Treacy expressed his frustration at cases where some who suffer domestic violence are pressured into withdrawing complaints.

“It does rankle with me... that thugs who attack their spouses and partners frequently get off scot-free because they can terrorise them directly or indirectly to withdraw their statement,” he said.

“It is extremely frustrating.”

His comments about domestic violence cases came as he refused bail to a Belfast man accused of punching and elbowing his wife in the face. The court was told that the alleged victim no longer wants to proceed with her complaint.

A defence lawyer also stressed that his client denied the assault charge.

But the judge replied that he has yet to come across a case where such suspects make admissions. “Either they will... lean on their partner, or their partner, irrespective of whether they feel they are leaned on, will feel under pressure to withdraw their statements,” he said.

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