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Northern Ireland judge questions Donald Trump policies on domestic abuse

By George Jackson

A Northern Ireland judge has questioned the policies of US President Donald Trump and of Russian President Vladimir Putin towards the issue of domestic violence.

Derry judge 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.

And in relation to domestic violence in Northern Ireland, the judge said if a government was ever restored, the legislators should review the fact that an act dating back to 1861 was being used in domestic violence prosecution here.

Mr McElholm made his comments during the case of Leon Browne, 24, from Hollymount Park in Derry. He 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 his partner's flat screen 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The court was told that the injured party had since withdrawn her statement of complaint against Browne who has paid for the damage he caused to the television.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. Here in Northern Ireland, he said, a 1861 Act was used.

Browne was given a five month jail sentence, suspended for three years, and put on probation for twelve months.

"The only reason you are not going to prison today is because I have read your partner's withdrawal statement and if it were not for her you would be going straight to jail today", the district judge told Browne.

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