By Brion Hoban
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.
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.
Speaking outside the Courts of Criminal Justice building following the sentencing, Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy commended the victim in the case for her bravery and said she has been “an inspiration to a number of women not only in Ireland but beyond Ireland as well”.
“They have found inspiration by your actions to come forward and a lot of them in the last couple of days have come forward and told their stories,” he said.
The case was reported on last week after a hearing in which the victim encouraged victims of domestic violence to seek help from service’s such as Woman’s Aid and said they would be heard.
In her victim impact statement she 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.
Prior to sentencing today, Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, said that prior to the trial an order was made that neither the accused or the victim 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.
This new assessment followed inquiries raised by the media regarding the legal justification for the restrictions. The convictions follow the first circuit court trial for offences under the 2018 Domestic Violence Act.
Passing sentence Judge Elma Sheahan noted that Kane has not taken the opportunity to apologise to the victim or express remorse for his actions.
Judge Sheahan noted that during the trial, the accused’s senior counsel was instructed to suggest to the victim, during cross-examination, that “she was prone to hysteria”.
She said that but for the intervention of a doctor the assaults would have continued. She said the victim “remained beholden” to the defendant.
His repeated assaults accompanied by rants and demeaning language all served to “maintain his control” of her, she said.
Judge Sheahan said the assaults were aggravated by the attacks taking place in the victim’s home, the persistent nature of the offending, the fact of the intimate relationship, the level of fear instilled on the victim and her psychological vulnerability.
She noted as aggravating factors the fact that Kane was on bail for other charges when he committed the intimidation offence and was already charged with intimidation when he attempted to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Sheahan said the case was mitigated by his previous good character, but noted that had to be juxtaposed with his repeated offending in this case over a 20-month period.
She also noted his caring for his parents as a mitigating factor, but commented that the compassion and empathy shown to his parents is in “marked contrast” to the “callous disregard” shown to the victim.
She said the court views that therefore Kane “chose” to treat the victim in such a manner.
Judge Sheahan said that emotional abuse and assault occurring within a relationship was unfortunately “all too prevalent in society”. She described the physical harm done in this case as “significant, brutal and cowardly”.
She said Kane’s failure to acknowledge wrongdoing was a troubling feature of the case. She said he has in fact done the “direct opposite” by blaming the victim for his predicament at times.
Judge Sheahan imposed an effective 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.
Speaking on the steps of the courthouse Superintendent Murphy thanked the victim for “telling your story in the manner you did” and wished her every success and good health in her life.
He told other victims of domestic abuse and coercive control that what was happening to them “is not your fault.” He said that if they came forward “we will believe you the way we believed the lady in this case”.
He urged those who recognised themselves in committing this type of behaviour to take responsibility for the behaviour, “get help and stop”. He said if they do not then they will be prosecuted.
He said it “has been shown today the courts, society, everybody takes this matter extremely seriously”.
He said the law is the same for all people and told victims that “we will back you 100 per cent if you come to us in relation to this”. He said gardaí are “asking you to reach out to us if you are a victim of domestic abuse”.
Superintendent Murphy said the victim had been informed of the sentence and while he would not speak for her, he said his understanding is that “she is pleased with the outcome”.