Belfast Telegraph

Co Down mum bids for injunction against man accused of intimidating her with throat-cutting gestures

A single mother is set to secure an emergency injunction against a man she claims subjected her to intimidation and sexual assault.

High Court judge Mr Justice Treacy confirmed today he was minded to grant the order shielding her from any alleged harassment.

He said: "All I want to ensure is that this lady has immediate protection, her children have immediate protection and she has sufficient comfort to return to her home."

The Co Down woman issued judicial review proceedings after another judge declined to grant a temporary injunction.

Her lawyers argued that the decision failed to balance her right to life and freedom from inhuman treatment against the man's entitlement to a fair trial.

The mother-of-two first went before a County Court sitting in Downpatrick last week.

She claimed to have been the victim of near daily intimidation stretching back to last October.

In the latest alleged incident the man repeatedly drove past her home making throat-cutting signals.

According to an account by the woman she fears for the safety of herself and her two young children.

She says she has now been forced to sleep with them on a friend's couch.

Although the PSNI were informed, a complaint has been made to the Police Ombudsman's Office about the rate of progress in their investigation.

Women's Aid have also been notified about her situation.

Her injunction was sought on an ex parte basis, which means the man she claims to have targeted her was not represented.

This was done to secure her safety and reduce the risk of further harassment, her lawyers argued.

But the County Court judge declined to grant it on the grounds that the man's Article 6 rights to a fair trial under European law should not be contravened.

Judicial reviews proceedings were then lodged in the High Court to challenge that decision.

Following further submissions Mr Justice Treacy indicated today that an interim order should be made.

The case will now return to the County Court for a full hearing.

Outside the court the woman's solicitor, Ciaran Mulholland, said: "We welcome Mr Justice Treacy's decision to furnish our client with the protection of the court, given the apparent vulnerability and sensitivity of this matter.

"The safety and well-being of this young mother and her two children should be paramount."

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