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Fife man found guilty of assaulting girlfriend, despite her defending him in trial

Joseph Darcy
Joseph Darcy was found guilty on circumstantial evidence.

A Kirkcaldy man has been found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend, despite her giving evidence defending him during a trial.

Joseph Darcy, 40, was convicted of causing injury to Amber Paton when the pair went to visit his sister in Dunfermline’s Clunie Road on December 11.

Both Darcy, of Lawson Street in Kirkcaldy, and his girlfriend denied the assault and claimed in court her injuries resulted from a fight she got into with another woman in an alleyway close to Dunfermline bus Station earlier that day.

However, the trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard from a police witness who described being called to the flat later that night by concerned neighbours and seeing cuts and bruises on the woman’s face.

About an hour before this, officers had been called to the flat by the neighbours due to shouting and the court heard Darcy told police he was arguing with his sister, Lisa Darcy.

Police evidence

PC Lauren Reid told the trial she entered the flat on the second occasion to find Darcy and his 34-year-old girlfriend in the bedroom with the lights off.

She said: “When Amber switched on the lights I could see she was injured and her face very swollen and had cuts and bruises around her mouth.

“They looked to me to be fresh injuries.

“It looked like there had been a disturbance.

“There was a blow-up mattress in the living room, lying on its side and drinking glasses on the floor.

“I made contact with an officer who had been at the address earlier and asked if Amber looked to have injuries and they confirmed she did not.

“She was hysterical and crying.

“The more questions I asked the more upset she seemed to get and was reluctant to tell me what actually happened.”

Darcy was arrested and taken to Dunfermline police station.

Neighbours give evidence

Two neighbours – one living in the flat opposite and another directly below – also gave evidence in court they could hear screaming and shouting and a woman in the flat repeatedly saying “get off of me”.

One told the court they had twice gone to check if everything was okay and on the second occasion, they pushed the front door open to see a man lying on top of a woman in a bed at the end of the flat.

The neighbour said: “I think they were mostly still but I kept hearing ‘get off me’.

“I could only see their backs. I did not see the woman’s face. I saw them for a few seconds.”

Contradictions in stories

Darcy also gave evidence during the trial that he and his partner arrived at Dunfermline bus station on December 11 before meeting his sister there.

He said he went to the toilet in the bus station cafe for a few minutes and came outside to “catch the tail end” of a fight between his partner and another woman.

However, Darcy’s girlfriend and his sister both told the court he was with them throughout the whole incident.

Dunfermline bus station
Dunfermline bus station.

Procurator fiscal depute Mat Piskorz said there were inconsistencies in evidence given by Darcy, his partner and his sister in relation to what happened at the bus station and that they each gave differing accounts of how much alcohol they all drank that night.

Sheriff Pino di Emidio found Darcy guilty of assaulting his partner by lying on top of her and causing injuries to her face and head by means to the prosecutor unknown, all to her injury.

The sheriff highlighted during the trial this was essentially a circumstantial evidence case as there was no direct evidence from an eye-witness to the assault.

Darcy also pled guilty to a charge of approaching his partner at the time, in breach of a bail condition.

Sentencing has been adjourned to March 18 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court and Darcy was released on bail.

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