‘Any man who punches the mother of his children is a disgrace’ says Judge

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge has said: ‘Any man who punches the mother of his children, is a disgrace.’

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 28-years-old Robert James Moore appeared at the local magistrate’s court.

Moore assaulted his partner in front of their seven-year-old child.

The defendant, of Duddy’s Court, pleaded guilty to common assault on January 6.

The judge said: “The damage that can be done to your children by witnessing one parent strike another is untold. It causes severe psychological damage, how bad it turns out to be will probably not manifest itself until a few years time.”

Judge McElholm added such offences “shows the need for new legislation. Six months doesn’t even get close to what the maximum sentence should be, but it is what I am stuck with.”

The court heard that Moore assaulted his girlfriend, the mother of his four children, during an argument.

All four children were present in the house at the time and a seven-years-old witnessed the incident.

Moore punched the injured party to the face and knocked her to the ground.

A photograph of the injuries sustained by the woman was shown to the court.

The defendant was arrested and during police interview, claimed the woman had hit him first and he retaliated by slapping her.

He said the woman did not have any injuries the last time he saw her and he could not account for those shown in the photograph.

Police opposed bail because the proposed address was too close to the injured party.

A defence solicitor told the court his client waived his right to a Probation Pre-Sentence Report.

He said Moore has not been before the court for the last eight years and on the night in question, alcohol had been consumed by both parties.

The solicitor added that Moore ‘doesn’t even recall’ what the argument was about and accepts the injured party sustained a ‘nasty injury’ to her eye.

Judge McElholm adjourned sentencing in the case for police to canvass the injured party’s views in relations to a Restraining Order and Moore was remanded in custody until Friday.