A fifty-two-year-old man has appeared in court accused of breaching a restraining order, by being in the company of a vulnerable woman.
William Thomas Birney from Dernawilt Road, Roslea is accused of committing the offence on September 25. He initially appeared before Dungannon Magistrates Court on Friday (September 28) where bail was opposed.
A police officer explained a report was made by a concerned social worker based at South West Acute Hospital to attend a house in Enniskillen. It was contended Birney had been in contact with the woman, who although not unwilling, was considered to be “extremely susceptible”.
On arrival at her home, she was discovered hiding in a cupboard and Birney’s clothing was found in the bedroom.
Police noted “It was clear he had been staying there.” A restraining order imposed on Birney following a previous conviction remains effective until August 2019, but there have been alleged previous breaches before his arrest.
The officer told the court, “Police are fearful if released the defendant will not comply with terms and will commit further offences.”
However, under defence cross-examination, the officer confirmed the restraining order was not applied for by the victim of her own volition. She also confirmed the couple have been in an on/off relationship for the past 10 years, and both have issues.
In addition, it was accepted the victim sent a number of messages to Birney in the duration of a previous case asking him, for example, to cut her grass. Whilst the defence conceded there is a conviction on record for, he told the court, “It’s a two-way street. My client is being criminalised while the complainant continues to make contact.”
Deputy District Judge Noel Dunlop ruled against police and permitted bail in the sum of ?300, on condition there is no contact with the injured party.
The case was adjourned to Enniskillen Magistrates Court where Birney appeared in person on Monday. He remains on bail and is due back on October 15.
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Posted: 8:50 am October 4, 2018