Landmark coercive control sentence a warning to all abusers – charity
Irish Examiner/January 22, 2021
By Liz Dunphy and Brion Hoban
A landmark sentencing, in a case tried under relatively new domestic abuse legislation, is “a shot across the bows to all abusers,” a leading domestic abuse charity has said.
Daniel Kane, 52, was convicted of coercively controlling and repeatedly assaulting his former partner during a domestic reign of terror in which he sliced her skin with a pizza cutter, fractured multiple bones, attacked her after surgery, burned her foot and stamped on her head.
Kane was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison, with two years suspended.
He is the first person to be convicted of coercive control by a jury following a trial.
The successive attacks and demeaning verbal and psychological abuse “sucked the life and soul of confidence” out of his victim and shattered her sense of self-worth.
She became “meek and submissive” and said in her victim impact statement that she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if doctors and gardaí had not intervened to get her away from Kane.
But Kane’s sentence tells abusers “very clearly that they can no longer control, stalk, assault, isolate or degrade a woman with impunity,” Mary McDermott, CEO of domestic abuse charity, Safe Ireland, said.
“What was once secret and privatised, is now public. In Ireland, the coercion and assault of any human being is a crime.
“Living in a ‘lockdown time’ we are gaining ever greater understandings of these household traumas and imprisonment.
Women’s Aid, a frontline organisation that supported the victim in this case, also welcomed the sentencing.
Sarah Benson, chief executive of Women’s Aid said:
“It is a pattern of multiple manipulative behaviours used by one party to wear down, isolate and completely control another.
“Today’s sentencing sends out a strong signal to domestic abusers. Coercive control is a serious crime and it will be treated as such by the gardaí and the courts.”