Judge Graeme McKerrell said the delay in prosecuting 22-year-old Liam Michael James Simon was undoubtedly unconscionable.
After the assault on Christmas Day 2015 the case file had lain dormant on a dusty shelf somewhere in the Police Station for some three-and-a-half years, he said.
During that time the defendant had been prosecuted for other matters and even sent to prison, but nobody had picked the file up. They might never have done so had it not been for proceedings in another court, when it was raised by a third party.
The defendant had caused some of the delay himself but police were the main reason for it, said Judge McKerrell.
Simon appeared from custody in court this week to deny the offence, which took place at his then home in Les Genats Estate, Castel. The court heard how he and his then partner had been together for about three years. On the day in question they argued as she planned to visit her father later that day but he was not invited.
The woman told the court how she had been in the bathroom. The defendant pushed the door open and grabbed a pair of scissors. When she leaned backwards he had grabbed her hair, holding her over the bath which had ripped her earrings out in the process. He stamped on her phone. When she went downstairs he had followed her into the kitchen where he took a knife from a drawer and threatened her with it. As the woman walked in the lounge he had grabbed her around the ribcage from behind. She heard a popping noise and found it difficult to breathe.
At this point he had put her on a sofa and went to fetch a glass of water for her. Their relationship, she said, which was an abusive one, had ended that day.
She had not visited a doctor at the time but had since found that she had a bent rib which they were talking about removing.
Defending, Advocate Paul Lockwood said the woman had said nothing about his client stamping on her phone or her having a bent rib in her statement. She said she had mentioned the rib to her advocate.
Advocate Lockwood asked why she had not complained to police until February 2016.
‘I was scared and young and he had hit me before,’ she said.
Her sister had persuaded her that she should go to the police.
Simon denied attacking the woman. He said he could not remember the incident but he would not have done such a thing. He thought the woman had ended the relationship because he cheated on her. He could not explain why the woman had said the things she had. He could not remember whether he got on with her father or not.
Advocate Lockwood asked the court to stay the case. He said the delay in proceedings had caused such prejudice to his client’s case that it was an abuse of process.
Judge McKerrell said Advocate Lockwood was not arguing that he had been unable to take proper instructions from his client because of the delay.
The judge said he believed the problem lay with the quality and honesty of the instructions Advocate Lockwood had been given.
The defendant had been able to give the court more detail about his induction into the Army than about the break-up of his relationship with his childhood sweetheart. He did not believe the defendant had amnesia. None of the evidence that the woman had given had re-kindled his memory about what happened five years ago. The defendant told the court he did not think he had ever been violent towards her but in a message extracted from the woman’s telephone in February 2016 he had admitted it.
If the woman had not been telling the truth, why would she have said that he put her on a sofa and got her a glass of water? When Simon had contacted the woman in January asking to discuss his problems with her she had sent quite a forgiving response.
He found the woman had been a witness of truth and said he had found her account to be accurate.
He found the defendant guilty. Simon will be sentenced for that and other matters later this month.