Ex-University of Ulster lecturer given three-month prison term over savage attack on wife
A University professor has been handed a prison sentence for hitting his wife in an attack that allegedly saw him smash her face and teeth.
Juan Carlos Augusto said that he lashed out on the spur of the moment and immediately called police following the attack in Comber, Co Down, in August 2015.
At Newtownards Magistrates’ Court on Friday, the former Ulster University researcher was given a three-month jail term after pleading guilty to a charge of assaulting the woman occasioning her actual bodily harm.
But Augusto walked free pending an appeal against the sentence, which is due to be heard later this week.
Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare also imposed a five-year restraining order barring the defendant from attempting to contact his former wife.
The Argentinian academic now works as a computer science professor at Middlesex University after a number of years teaching at Ulster University, where he lectured students and helped PhD researchers.
Augusto arrived in Newtownards with his bags packed and prepared for prison.
He was initially charged with both grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his partner, but the first charge was withdrawn earlier this month.
However, a bench warrant was issued after Augusto failed to turn up in court at an earlier court hearing.
The senior researcher, who has given intellectual talks around the world, is believed to be the subject of a new documentary.
An investigative journalist and photographers have been following the case in Newtownards for several weeks.
Former Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie also turned up in court for one of Augusto’s appearances earlier this month.
It is understood that the case will feature in a documentary that she is producing for the BBC on the issue of domestic abuse.
Widely respected in his field, Augusto has written more than 200 publications, mainly on context-awareness and ambient intelligence.
He is also a member of several advisory boards, an external referee for EU funding calls and an advisor for different EU funding programmes.
According to Middlesex University’s website, he is head of the Research Group on the Development of Intelligent Environments and has been an examiner for a “substantial number of European PhD students”.
He will appear at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court again on September 2 to appeal his sentence.