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Woman remains in ‘unconscious state’ in hospital following alleged assault


A WOMAN allegedly assaulted in Ennis town centre on Thursday evening remains in an “unconscious state” in hospital, a court has heard.
Details of the woman’s condition were outlined at a special sitting of Ennis District Court today (January 30), during the appearance of the man accused of her assault.
Patrick Ballard (34), with an address at Ashford Court Hotel, Ennis, is charged with assault causing harm to his then girlfriend Sharon Bennett at Garranakilla, the Market, Ennis, on January 28, 2021.
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against The Person Act.
At today’s court sitting, Detective Garda Noelle Bergin of Ennis Garda Station gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution of Mr Ballard.
She told the court that in reply to the charge after caution, the accused said, “I’m sorry for what happened.”
Solicitor Tara Godfrey was assigned legal aid to represent the accused. Ms Godfrey told the court she was applying for bail for Mr Ballard.
Inspector Helen Costelloe said the State had no objection to the granting of legal aid, but was objecting to bail.
Det Gda Bergin told the court the State were objecting to bail on a number of grounds including the seriousness of the charge and the alleged strength of the evidence.
Det Bergin said a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and it is anticipated that the matter will proceed on indictment to the circuit criminal court.
Det Bergin said given the medical evidence in the case, there is a likelihood that a more serious charge will be brought against the accused.
She said the alleged victim, Ms Bennett, has been in an “unconscious state” in hospital due to head injuries since the alleged assault.
Ms Godfrey told the court her client is 60% deaf in one ear and has certain difficulties.
She said given the fact that a more serious charge maybe contemplated, that a file is yet to be prepared for the DPP and the uncertainty caused to court proceedings by Covid-19, a long remand in custody would pose serious difficulties for Mr Ballard.
She said her client would be willing to abide by any bail conditions set down by the court.
In reply, Insp Costelloe told the court the allegation will be that this was a serious offence and is at the “upper end” of the Section 3 assault charge.
Judge Mary Cashin said the court had to weigh up a number of factors in considering bail.
She said that having listened to the State’s objections and Ms Godfrey, she was satisfied to refuse bail.
Patrick Ballard was remanded in custody to appear again at Ennis District Court, via video link, on February 3.

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