A judge has told a man who assaulted his girlfriend that ‘real men don’t hit women’.
District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 21-year-old Stephen Owens appeared at the local magistrates court.
Owens, of Bayview Gardens, pleaded guilty to two charges of common assault.
The offences were committed between March 15 and May 18, last year.
Owens punched the woman, his former girlfriend, on two separate occasions.
Defence counsel Catherine Devlin told the court her client is ‘well respected in the community’.
She said he had ‘chosen’ to remain single because ‘he knows he may pose a risk’ when in a relationship.
The barrister told the court Owens would be ‘grateful for the opportunity to complete a probation order’.
Passing sentence, Judge McElholm told the 21-year-old ‘real men don’t hit women. It is a cowardly and despicable act for any man’.
He ordered Owens to spend two years on probation, during which he must participate in a domestic abuse programme and a drug and alcohol programme.
The judge said ‘this is not a soft option for you as these are very challenging courses. If you don’t complete them in a satisfactory manner I will send you to prison’.
Judge McElholm imposed a restraining order for three years, which bans the defendant from pester, molesting, threatening or intimidating the injured party.
Owens was also ordered to pay the injured party £500 compensation.