Man jailed for ten and a half years for coercive control and repeatedly assaulting his former partner

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Court Reporter

Man jailed for ten and a half years for coercive control and repeatedly assaulting his former partner

A man convicted of coercively controlling and repeatedly assaulting his former partner has been jailed for ten-and-a-half years.

During a 20-month relationship, Daniel Kane (52) repeatedly attacked the woman, including burning her foot, cutting her with a pizza slicer, headbutting her in the face while she was recovering from nasal surgery and stamping on her arm causing her multiple fractures.

On another occasion he stamped on her head and strangled her, leaving finger marks along her throat. After being charged with these attacks Kane threatened to send explicit images of the victim to her family if she did not withdraw the charges.

In her victim impact statement the woman told the court she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if doctors and gardaí had not intervened to get her away from Kane. She encouraged victims of domestic violence to seek help from service's such as Woman's Aid and said they would be heard.

Last November a jury convicted the Kane of Waterville Terrace, Blanchardstown, Dublin, of coercive control, intimidation, assault and 12 counts of assault causing harm.

The offences occurred at various locations, including the couple's Dublin home, on dates between May 2018 and January 2020.

The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court acquitted Kane of one charge of assault causing harm and one charge of endangerment, both alleged to have occurred in the same time period. He had pleaded not guilty to all the offences.

Following the convictions, Kane pleaded guilty to a separate charge of intending to pervert the course of justice in the period between March and July 2020. This related to several attempts by the man to get the woman to withdraw her statements to gardaí.

Kane has two previous convictions for drunk driving and intoxication in a public place.

Prior to sentencing today, Thursday, Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, said that prior to the trial an order was made that neither the defendant or the complainant could be named. He said this order was made where there was accepted evidence of the vulnerability of the victim.

Mr Naidoo said that subsequent to the trial, the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is that the anonymity provision contained in Section 36 of the Domestic Violence Act 2018 does not appear to cover the offence of coercive control.

The prosecution came after the first circuit court trial for offences under this law.

Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced Kane to a sentence of twelve-and-a-half years imprisonment. She suspended the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years post release.

A detective sergeant told Mr Naidoo, that on September 22, 2019, he received a phone call from a doctor working in a Dublin hospital who had concerns about the relationship the victim was in and believed there was “a real and substantial threat to her life”.

The sergeant said the victim gave evidence during the trial of ongoing violence of different degrees. She described that at particular times the violence was “particularly intense”.

The relationship began around April 2018 when the victim was looking for a place to live and was introduced to Kane. She moved into his apartment and they became romantically involved.

As well as physical assaults, she described emotional abuse in the form of him saying demeaning things, using aggressive language and specific incidents of humiliating conduct such as being made to sit naked in a room while he berated her.

The victim gave evidence of him interfering with her relationship with her family and her access to her friends. She said the conduct had a serious effect on her, that she became “meek and submissive” and that she was “walking on eggshells” waiting for the next act of violence.

She said that waiting for the next act of violence was almost worse than when the next act of violence happened.

Kane was arrested and charged with several counts of assault. He continued to be in contact with the victim after being charged with these offences.

During this period of contact he threatened to send sexually explicit images of the victim to her father and brother if she did not withdraw the charges.

The garda sergeant said that the count of perverting the course of justice arose from the victim swearing an affidavit in which she said she wished to withdraw all charges and not give evidence during a trial.

An investigation was launched and recordings were obtained of 146 phone calls made by Kane to the victim while he was remanded in custody.

During these phone calls Kane made numerous attempts to get her to withdraw her complaints, making threats he would either self-harm or be harmed if he remained in custody and encouraging her to write a letter saying he had never coercively controlled her.

In one call Kane can be heard claiming another prisoner shouted that he was dead and then telling the victim there were things she needed to do if she did not want him dead.

In another call he can be heard encouraging her to change her statement and saying “they” cannot do anything to her if she did change the statement.

In her victim impact statement, which was read before the court by a detective garda, the woman said her former partner “sucked the life and soul of confidence” out of her and wanted her not to have contact with anyone else.

She said she often ran away from the defendant and slept rough out of fear. She said he always persuaded her that it would never happen again and he had such control over her that she always believed him and went back.

The woman said she tried to kill herself a few times as she “did not want him to have the satisfaction of him doing it”.

She described Women's Aid as an “amazing” service and said she did not realise there was so much help available for people in her situation.

The woman said she would have gone back to her former partner if not for doctors and gardaí removing her.

She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her and otherwise she “might be dead or in a vegetative state”.

She said she did not know what domestic violence was “until I got chipped away piece by piece” and there was “nothing left but tears”.

The woman encouraged people that they always have a place to go and said they will be heard and helped by the services. She urged people “not to leave it too late for you and your kids”.

The detective sergeant agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending, that his client's previous convictions stems from alcohol abuse and that alcohol abuse was “a recurrent theme” in his life and the life of the victim.

He agreed the victim gave evidence that there were periods of sobriety in the relationship during which there did not appear to be the same level of abuse.

Mr Clarke said his client has two children from a previous relationship. He said his client has had ongoing caring roles with both of his parents.

Counsel said his client has been in custody since March 2020.

During the sentencing hearing, the court heard evidence that relatively early in their relationship, Kane burned the victim's foot with a cigarette leaving a permanent scar.

During a later incident Kane grabbed her around the throat and choked her, leaving cuts and bruises. The victim gave evidence that incidents of that kind were so common they tended to meld together.

Further incidents included him cutting her with a pizza slicer, punching her in the face with an open hand and pulling her around the apartment by her hair. The latter incident occurred in early 2019 when the violence began escalating.

The victim made a 999 call in January 2019 during which she was very upset and said she was hiding in a toilet in the apartment unable to leave because Kane was present.

During another incident Kane headbutted her in the face while she had been recovering from surgery on her nose. She attended hospital and was identified as having a new injury to her nose.

Kane banged the victim's head on a solid surface in the apartment on one occasion and on another he banged her head against the railings of a bridge. The victim required seven staples to her head following the latter assault.

On another occasion Kane stamped on her head while she was on the ground. He later stamped on her arm causing multiple fractures and strangled her leaving fingermarks which were noted by doctors when she attended hospital.

The final assault occurred in January 2020 after Kane had already been charged with many of the other offences. He lunged at the victim and grabbed her by the face while she was in his apartment.