Donegal man jailed for assault on former girlfriend

A Donegal sex offender who punched his former girlfriend as their six month old baby lay beside her on a bed has been jailed for one year.

31 year old Martin O'Hara, who has a previous conviction for rape, “lashed out” at the woman a second time after he left the house with their baby without her agreement following an argument.

O'Hara of St Benildus Avenue, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the woman causing her harm in Tallaght on July 28, 2016.

Judge Karen O'Connor said it had been “violent and aggressive behaviour” in the presence of a young baby and had no doubt been terrifying for the woman. She noted his remorse and his recent efforts at rehabilitation and counselling.

Garda were alerted and were initially concerned for the child but O'Hara returned the child without incident after he was spotted walking near Luas tracks. The baby was calm and uninjured.

O'Hara was arrested and admitted “lashing out” at the women. Garda asked him what he had been planning to do and he replied that he was not sure.

Gda Neilan said O'Hara has 15 previous convictions which include less serious assaults, burglary and one conviction for rape.

Judge O'Connor said the physical effects of the assault had been at the lower end of the scale but noted the woman also suffered psychological effects. She imposed a 12 month prison term.