Jailed for assaulting teenage girlfriend

The case was heard at Bishop Street courthouse.
The case was heard at Bishop Street courthouse.

A man on ‘launched a violent attack’ on his teenage girlfriend has been jailed for a total of seven months.

Christopher Kennedy, whose address was given on court papers as no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on March 2 last.

The 23-year-old also admitted possessing a knife during an incident in Newtownstewart on March 14.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the injured party, a 17-year-old girl, reported to police that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend.

They were in her house and Kennedy had been drinking throughout the day.

He came over to where the injured party was sitting and head butted her.

The court heard Kennedy then punched her five or six times, knocking her to the ground. He also kicked her as she lay on the ground.

The injured party sustained bruising to her face and a cut to her lip as a result of the assault.

Photographs of these injuries were shown to the judge.

During police interview, Kennedy said he had been going out with the girl for a couple of months but claimed he had never been violent towards her.

He also told police he had been drinking and had no memory of any incident.

The court was told Kennedy was released on bail to reside at an address in Newtownstewart.

Less than two weeks later police were called to an ongoing disturbance.

Kennedy was intoxicated, in breach of bail conditions, and when he was searched police discovered a knife with a three inch blade.

The court heard the defendant had no previous criminal record and there was no history of domestic violence.

Defence solicitor, Keith Kyle, told the court his client was no longer in a relationship with the injured party.

He said both incidents occurred when Kennedy was ‘consuming too much alcohol’ and he wanted to address his issues with this when he is released from custody.

Jailing the 23-year-old, District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘drink does not cause someone to be violent. There are people who drink heavily every day and are never violent. Domestic violence is a particular type of crime and it has underlying issues’.

The judge said Kennedy ‘launched a violent attack’ on the injured party for no apparent reason and she sustained a ‘serious enough cut on her face’.