A 43-year-old man has been found guilty of assaulting his ex-wife in front of their children.

James Armstrong of Rossfad Road, Ballinamallard was found to have unlawfully assaulted his ex-wife during an incident on October 21, 2018.

Both Armstrong and his ex-wife took to the stand to give their versions of events of what happened on the day in question.

During questioning of the injured party it was heard that she had went to the former family home to collect her three children and to also ask for some Christmas decorations and items which had belonged to her grandfather.

She said that she was standing on the doorstep talking to one of the children when Armstrong approached and shoved her from the step forcing her to stumble.

When she recovered she stepped inside the door to ask again for the items and this time the defendant put his hands around her neck and forcefully threw her from the house.

This was all done in front of their three children.

The court heard Armstrong locked the front door and the injured party and three children went to the car however they realised they had forgotten the children’s schools bags in the house. Armstrong’s ex-wife returned to the house with her son who shouted through the letterbox for the schoolbags which resulted in Armstrong opening a bedroom window and placing the schoolbags outside. It was at the window that the injured party asked for her grandfather’s belongings and was punched on the lip by Armstrong resulting in a cut to the lower lip.

She said Armstrong also muttered under his breath that he would ‘slit her throat’.

The injured party spoke to her solicitor the following day who advised her to report the incident to the police. The court heard that she also recorded the episode as she said there had been issues before and for her own safety.

During cross-examination defence barrister Ciaran Roddy said it was the defence’s case that the injured party had entered the house and whenever the defendant saw you in the house he told you to get out and he shepherded her out.

Mr. Roddy asked the injured party if she had went about things in the best way to which she replied it probably was not looking back.

The defence put forward that she had wanted to fight knowing she had a listening device recording the exchanges and she did not care about fighting in front of the three children.

Mr. Roddy also said the injured party was making up the punch as the injury was not reflective of a man of Armstrong’s size and stature.

During questioning Armstrong said it was unusual for his ex-wife to collect the children and when he saw her in the house he put his arms around her and pushed her out the door. Armstrong said his ex-wife was making the whole thing up and he couldn’t account for the injuries she sustained.

A recording of part of the audio was played during the prosecution’s cross-examination in which the injured party and children could be heard talking and this was followed by some scuffling noises and Armstrong’s ex-wife saying: “Stop pushing me.”

In closing the prosecution said that if the injured party was making the whole thing up, why was the incident not reported immediately and asked the court to take that into account.

After a short deliberation, District Judge Michael Ranaghan said he assessed the credibility of it all, including the witnesses on the stand and said one thing he was certain of was that it should not have happened in front of young children.

He described Armstrong as flippant and quick to anger and the injured party as a competent witness despite the strong cross-examination from Mr. Roddy and that the truth lay in her version of events.

Judge Ranaghan ordered a pre sentence report to be compiled with Armstrong to appear on July 22 for sentencing; warning him that custody was a live option in sentencing.