Domestic violence ‘appalled’ sheriff

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Sheriff Patrick Hughes said he was ‘appalled’ when he read the details of a 30-year-old man’s behaviour towards his partner.

‘It is an insight into how bad domestic violence can be,’ said the sheriff when sitting at Oban court last week.

The Oban man had previously admitted a lengthy course of abusive behaviour towards his partner at an address in the Oban area, between April 1 and May 6 last year. This included challenging her to fight when she tried to leave their home; demanding to know her whereabouts and whom she was seeing; preventing her from visiting family, friends and going shopping; offensive and derogatory remarks, pushing her, ripping her clothing; throwing a cup of hot tea at her, injuring her by hitting her on the head with a glass ashtray; threatening further violence towards her and other demanding and controlling actions.

A criminal justice social work report was prepared about the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim and children.

His defence agent Jane McLaren told the court that the report ‘misunderstands his position; he does accept full responsibility for his offending’.

She described it as ‘a toxic relationship for the parties’ and that the man ‘does not deal with confrontation in a mature manner’, referring to his alcohol consumption and poor mental health.

Procurator fiscal James Dunbar said the Crown was seeking non-harassment orders.

As a direct alternative to custody the man was placed on a community payback order with 15 months of supervision where he must work to address his behaviour so that he does not reoffend, along with 150 hours of unpaid work in the community which must be completed within a year.

He is also subject to a restriction of liberty order where he must remain at home between the hours of 7pm-7am for six months and be fitted with an electric tag.

‘If you tamper with this you will not be brought back to court, you will be taken into custody,’ said the sheriff, who also issued a non-harassment order forbidding the man to contact his partner in any way for five years, except through a third-party regarding their child. A further five year non-harassment order was issued regarding the woman’s children.

The sheriff said he was sending a message to the community that domestic violence would not be tolerated.

And he again warned the man that his sentence was a direct alternative to custody and if he did not comply he would go straight to prison.