NI judge rails at Trump and Putin over domestic abuse
The judge in Londonderry has questioned the policies of US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in relation to the issue of domestic violence.
Barney McElholm said he was aware that President Trump was about to remove legal aid from people who were domestic violence victims and who were seeking civil remedies.
The District Judge said he also understood that President Putin had recently decriminalised domestic violence in Russia.
In relation to domestic violence in Northern Ireland, Mr McElholm said if the Assembly was ever restored, MLAs should review the fact that an Act dating back to 1861 was still being used.
He made his comments during the case of Leon Browne (24), from Hollymount Park in Derry.
Browne admitted a charge of common assault on his partner during which he grabbed her by the throat, causing bruising to her neck, wrist and shoulder. During the incident, which occurred on December 7 of last year, Browne also smashed up his partner's flatscreen television.
The court was told that the injured party had since withdrawn her statement of complaint against Browne, who has paid for the damage he caused to the television.
Mr McElholm said in some states in America a person who grabbed another person by the throat and squeezed to the point of rendering the victim unconscious was charged with attempted murder.
But here in Northern Ireland, he said, a 1861 Act was still being used.
He handed Browne a five-month jail sentence, which was suspended for three years, and put him on probation for 12 months.
"The only reason you are not going to prison today is because I have read your partner's withdrawal statement," the District Judge told Browne.
"And if it were not for her, you would be going straight to jail today."