Belfast Telegraph

Judge hails domestic violence victim as ex convicted of assault

By Staff Reporter

A judge has commended a victim of domestic violence for her courage in seeing a case through to the end, despite an initial withdrawal of complaint in the early stages of the investigation.

District Judge John Meehan was speaking after convicting the woman's former partner of assault following a contested hearing at Dungannon Magistrates' Court.

Patrick McNamee (55) of Orritor Street, Cookstown, steadfastly denied attacking the victim during an incident on July 19.

Giving evidence, the victim said she was worried on the night of the attack because McNamee had gone out drinking, which she said made him angry.

Aware he had a key to her home, the victim said she was afraid of what he would do if he got her. He had previously made remarks that people thought she was "mad in the head".

A confrontation occurred in which the victim was struck by McNamee and dragged along the floor, which caused her shirt to be trailed off, leaving her naked from the waist up.

Whilst on the floor, she had to use her legs to place distance between herself and McNamee to prevent further blows.

Under cross-examination, the woman confirmed reporting the assault to police and then withdrawing her complaint several days later, but she decided to proceed with the case after thinking the matter over.

McNamee contended in evidence that he would never hit any woman and maintained the incident did not happen.

Instead, he claimed to have told the woman to leave, before moving her to the door. This, he said, was the only contact he had with her, and it was to get her out of the property.

When pressed by the prosecution, the defendant again insisted the assault never happened. He was passed graphic photographs of injuries sustained by the victim, but showed no emotion and stated, "Nothing to do with me".

Judge Meehan wasted little time in ruling. He noted that despite McNamee's "soft-spoken delivery of evidence", it was clear his version was inconsistent.

He said: "I have no doubt, you inflicted those injuries and I therefore order a conviction."

Before concluding the hearing, Judge Meehan added: "I want to express my appreciation and commend the victim for her courage in coming to court, where she would be accused of fabricating this experience and told it did not happen.

"The court recognises it most certainly did. These cases are all about degrading and humiliating victims.

"Whilst she did make a withdrawal statement, she thought better of it and decided to see the case through. For that, she is to be thoroughly commended."

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

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