Belfast Telegraph

Judge denies bail to 'manipulative' wife and child beating accused

By Staff Reporter

A judge has thrown out a bail application for a man accused of child cruelty and domestic abuse after learning of actions allegedly intended to "maximise the potential" of charges against him being dropped.

Referring to the defendant's demeanour at Dungannon Magistrates Court, which included glaring with "piercing eyes", the judge ruled there was the potential to manipulate vulnerable persons if bail was approved.

The accused, who is in his 30s but cannot be named to protect his children, is facing charges dating to April 2016 involving abuse of his son and daughter, who have been taken into care, as well as attacks on his wife.

He was previously bailed and banned from entering Dungannon and contacting the alleged victims. However, a police officer said the defendant had been arrested in the town on August 11.

Objecting to bail, the officer said the man had breached his conditions three times over four weeks, each time involving contact with the alleged victims. He told the court: "The breaches were as a result of police detections and not reports by victims. It is clear he is not listening to warnings and disregards orders."

A defence barrister said his client admitted the latest breach, claiming he had been seeking work in the town, although no supporting evidence was given.

Referring to a previous breach, the barrister claimed the defendant had been responding to a call from his children, who had run away from foster carers.

But the submissions were rejected by District Judge John Meehan, who said: "This is a horrible situation. There are several sets of serious domestic violence charges before the court, as well as the child cruelty matters.

"(The defendant's) game is whether the victims see these through or withdraw. The obvious motivation of this man is to get back into the family circle to maximise the potential of having the charges dropped.

"I note the defendant is in the dock before me with piercing eyes in my direction. Perpetrators such as that can manipulate the vulnerable."

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link later this month.

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