Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone wife-beater wants family to repay dowry

By Staff Reporter

A man convicted of assaulting his wife on three consecutive days intends to force her family to repay her dowry if she refuses to reconcile, a court heard.

Described by a judge as authoritarian, with perverse entrenched attitudes toward women, Helio Oliveira (38) of Lisnaree, Dungannon, even left his barrister struggling to find something positive within a pre-sentence report.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard police received a report from the victim on March 30 to say she had been assaulted by her husband on that day and each of the two previous days.

East Timorese man Oliveira was arrested and during interview made "no comment" replies to all allegations.

When the case reached court, he initially denied all charges, only changing his plea shortly before a contest was to be heard. As he has a relevant previous conviction for violence against the same woman, the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

But these were not helpful and a defence barrister told the court: "It is rare for a practitioner to have so little to offer by way of mitigation.

"There are all sorts of glaring issues within the report. I accept my client has, in a very clear fashion, voiced his intentions should the victim fail to stay with him." District Judge John Meehan said this aspect of Oliveira's report was disturbing and stated: "The defendant claims if (the victim) fails to reconcile, he plans to force her to travel with him to their home country and have her family refund her dowry.

"That is a perverse attitude. The report also states the defendant believes violence is an acceptable way to resolve issues in a marriage.

"He was dealt with by a probation order in the past in an attempt to rehabilitate, but he reoffended - with three assaults. Probation achieved absolutely nothing."

Addressing Oliveira directly, Judge Meehan said: "You seem to place power and violence as demonstrations of your authority. You express your authority with violence.

"Justice exists to protect women and children from violence in the home. You don't decide whether you feel there is a challenge to your power. There is an authority bigger than you, ready to enforce what the community demands.

"Your kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

Imposing a sentence of three months' imprisonment, Judge Meehan said: "Perhaps the withholding of your power by authorities will give you an insight into your behaviour."

Judge Meehan also imposed a restraining order to run for the maximum period of five years, telling Oliveira: "You declare expectations of reconciliation and intend to bring your wife home to her family to pursue a claim of compensation from her family.

"In order to thwart any such perverse expectations of your authority and your entrenched activities, you are prohibited from any contact with the victim.

"If you breach that, you will find yourself prosecuted and can expect a lengthy prison sentence."

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