A Kinnegad man charged with breaching a protection order has been warned that he will lose his bail if he uses his children to get at his wife.
The 34-year-old appeared before the court charged with a number of incidents. One saw him allegedly ringing the family home and upsetting his son. Another involved him making demands to see his children at Christmas and threatening to take them.
He is charged with breaching the terms of the protection order by constantly ringing and “besetting” his ex-wife and by putting her in fear by driving slowly in front of her and also following her.
The woman, who gave evidence of the breaches in court, described how she thought her ex-husband had befriended her on Facebook using a false name and contacted her children to check up on whether she was on the computer.
She also claims he got information about her plans from this contact. She described herself as a computer novice, but said he has a computer security background.
Judge Neilan expressed extreme concern that the woman’s English driver’s licence appeared to have been tampered with while in her husband’s possession, though the man refuted the allegation, saying it was damaged before he got it.
Mr Matt Shaw said his client accepted the phone calls were a breach of the court order, but denied all other offences.
The man insisted that contrary to his wife’s evidence, he had never asked her to go for a drink with him and drop the charges against him. He said he had never suggested they didn’t need the courts or Gardaí to help them sort out their differences.
The woman also said the man had threatened to make her life hell and said he would not give her money for the children.
“He is using the children to manipulate and play mind-games,” she said.
When Mr Shaw suggested his client had never been abusive to her, she said “My husband is a compulsive liar. He has me in fear”.
Mr Shaw said his client had no contact with the woman since Sgt Tooher spoke to him on January 15.
Giving evidence, the man denied that he had state of the art computer equipment but had a €350 laptop he acquired while he was working and a ready-to-go phone. He said he was paying maintenance and had never asked his ex-wife to drop the charges against him.
“I know she’s upset,” he said. “But a lot of what she’s saying is a fabrication of the truth.” He said he was not an intimidating person and had never had a row with anyone.
“I’m no threat to anybody,” he said.
Judge Neilan adjourned the case to March.
Cases involving family relationships are normally heard in the judge’s chamber, away from the public to protect the children. However, cases which involve criminal charges, such as breaching a barring or protection order, are heard in public because of a constitutional rule that justice be seen to be done in public.