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Man who punched girlfriend 'more than five but less than ten times' given suspended sentence

David Swords, from Dublin, pleaded guilty to the assault.

A MAN WHO punched his girlfriend multiple times in the face because he believed she had kissed his cousin has received a fully suspended sentence.

David Swords (23) admitted to gardaí that he had punched Jessica Walsh “more than five but less than ten times” in the face having held her with his left hand and striking her with his right hand.

He said there was “some perception” on his part that “something untoward” had been going on between Walsh and his cousin.

Swords of Valley Close, Druid Valley, Cabinteely, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing Ms Walsh harm in Glasthule on 21 June, 2017. He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since.

Today, Judge Martin Nolan said the assault was “unprovoked, sudden and pretty vicious”. He said it seems Swords lost control and let his temper take over.

Judge Nolan said the mitigating factors in the case were his guilty plea, his co-operation, his lack of criminal convictions and his taking steps to deal with his temper.

He also noted that Swords was well educated, was in good employment and that there was a good likelihood he would not re-offend to this degree again.

He sentenced Swords to three years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in full on strict conditions, including that he collect €12,500 within 18 months, which the court will dispose of in the event that the injured party does not wish to accept it.

Addressing Swords directly after passing his sentence, Judge Nolan told him he behaved shamefully on the night and that any repeat or anything similar at all and he knew what would happen.

Garda Gary White told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, after Ms Walsh texted Swords photos of her injuries, Swords replied that he was sorry. She was treated in hospital for swelling and bruising to her face and neck.

White confirmed that Ms Walsh, “just wishes to move on with her life now”. She had prepared a victim impact report but it was not read out in court.

White agreed with David Staunton BL, defending, that Swords told gardaí he was “completely heartbroken and ashamed”. He said he had to make sure it didn’t happen again and he had started attending a weekly anger management and domestic abuse course.

Judge Nolan had adjourned the case overnight to consider it, having asked Mr Staunton if someone who attacks a woman like this should go to jail.

Mr Staunton submitted that in his client’s particular case “it would not be an appropriate sanction”.

“He has taken matters hugely seriously and has attended at a course every week to seek treatment,” counsel said referring to the anger management course Swords has been participating in.

White told Ms Collard that the victim went to her local garda station after she was discharged from hospital but initially said she had been attacked by a group of men on her way home from a night out.

She returned the next day and clarified that it was Swords who had attacked her. She said she had been going out with him for a year and was trying to protect him.

She said they had an argument after he saw her kiss his cousin on the cheek. She had no recollection of the assault.

Swords told gardaí in interview that he had “anger issues” and outlined the amount of alcohol he had drunk that night.

Mr Staunton told Judge Nolan that his client “held his hands up” and had taken “proactive steps to address his issues in dealing with anger and his reaction”.

He accepted it was a vicious assault and had shown remorse. He has since graduated from college and is now working in an accountancy firm.

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Sonya McClean

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