‘Cork wouldn’t be far enough away’ - Judge

A 30-year-old man has appeared in court accused of sexual assault and attempting to choke a woman.

Friday, 14th March 2014, 11:13 am

Lee Martin James Healy, whose address was given on court papers as Spencer Road, faces a total of 23 charges allegedly committed between May 16 and November 3, last year.

They include charges of sexual assault, false imprisonment and attempting to choke, strangle or suffocate the alleged injured party.

Healy is further charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and breaching a restraining order.

During the hearing at Derry Magistrate’s Court Healy spoke only to confirm his details and that he understood the charges.

An investigating officer said that the 30-year-old has convictions for domestic violence and three women have made allegations against him in the recent past.

These women are deemed to be at high risk of domestic violence.

The court heard the first alleged incident in relation to these charges occurred in the early hours of May 16. Healy allegedly accused the woman of having sex with another man before headbutting her, grabbing her by the throat and sexually assaulting her.

During an alleged incident in July, the court heard claims the 30-year-old dropped a glass on the woman causing a cut to her nose.

The court also heard allegations that an incident took place in a hotel room in Belfast.

He allegedly grabbed the woman as they were getting ready to go out and squeezed toothpaste down her throat and up her nose.

Healy also allegedly pushed the woman to the floor and poured other toiletries over her before ripping her clothes off and punching her in the ribs.

The 30-year-old also allegedly sexually assaulted the woman in the hotel room by touching her and allegedly slapped her on both sides of her face with his penis.

In a further alleged incident in October the court heard claims Healy grabbed the woman by the throat and headbutted her because he had seen her talking to another man.

He also allegedly locked her in his flat and refused to allow her to leave.

Bail was opposed for fear of further offences and fears that the 30-year-old would not adhere to conditions.

An investigating officer told the court there was a domestic violence history between Healy and the alleged injured party.

She added there was a restraining order in place until 2017.

Defence solicitor Maeliosa Barr said his client admitted breaching the restraining order but denied the other offences.

Mr Barr also said there was no corroborative evidence in relation to the alleged incidents.

He further claimed the alleged injured party had lied in a previous statement to the court and during visits to the hospital.

The solicitor said the allegations were made after the alleged injured party found out Healy was in a relationship with another woman.

“We say her version of events is not true and that this lady is getting back at the defendant”, he added.

Mr Barr applied for the 30-year-old to be released on bail with stringent conditions.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail.

He said if Healy admitted the serious offence of breaching a restraining order ‘how then could I possibly be convinced he would adhere to any condition of bail?”

The Judge said that no bail address in the city would be suitable and in his opinion ‘Cork wouldn’t be far enough away’ from the alleged injured party.

The judge also ordered the Prison Service staff to ensure that Healy has no contact with the woman.

The 30-year-old will appear in court again via videolink on April 3.