CORONATION STREET – TYRONE’S TRIAL FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

Many loyal fans have, I’m sure, been captivated over the last week or two watching the trial on Coronation Street, in respect of which Tyrone Dobbs (played by Alan Halsall) has been accused by his ex-partner, Kirsty (played by Natalie Gumede) of attacking her on what would have been their wedding day, by pushing her down the stairs and, in addition, she has also alleged that she was subjected to a history of domestic violence by him during their relationship.

As regular viewers will appreciate and have been aware for some months, despite the fact that many of the couple’s friends and neighbours have recently turned their back on Tyrone and refused to believe his innocence, it is actually Kirsty who was violent, dominating and controlling towards Tyrone on a regular basis and the incident on their wedding day, following which Tyrone was arrested, occurred as a result of the couple having an argument and her then falling down the stairs, rather than being pushed by Tyrone, as alleged by her.

Tyrone has become downcast and depressed, to say the least, whilst being held on remand awaiting the trial.  Now the trial is ongoing, scenes have, just last night, been aired that portrayed the extent of the violence Kirsty has subjected Tyrone to, the amount of distress this has caused him, together with the concern he has experienced with regard to the safety of his young daughter, Ruby, who has remained in Kirsty’s care whilst he has been on remand.

The verdict of the Trial is still awaited but, in the meantime, Kirsty has snapped and lashed out at her friend, Julie, showing her true colours.  It is still unknown whether this will result in Tyrone being found not guilty and released from prison and a subsequent prosecution being pursued against Kirsty for perverting the course of justice.

Where did it all go wrong?

At the time that Kirsty started being violent towards Tyrone, really, it would have been in his best interest to leave her.  However, it is appreciated and widely reported that it is frequently extremely difficult for men being subjected to domestic violence by their partners to admit to this and take any aversive action, e.g. by leaving the relationship.  Some of the reasons for such reported difficulties are said to be that men are embarrassed to admit they are being abused by their partners and they may also be fearful that no one will believe them if they report the abuse to anyone, i.e. their G.P., the Police, friends and/or family members.

There are also often various additional circumstances that may make this course of action more difficult, for example, if the parties have a child together, own a property together, or there are insufficient finances to make leaving the relationship a viable option.

Following the birth of Kirsty and Tyrone’s child, Ruby, it became even more difficult for Tyrone to leave Kirsty in view of the fact that she had, in a calculated cunning manner, omitted to enter Tyrone’s name on the Birth Certificate, thereby ensuring that he did not automatically have Parental Responsibility for Ruby.  In view of the fact there had not been any Court Proceedings in relation to Ruby and, therefore, no Orders had been made by the Court to determine who Ruby should live with, had Tyrone had Parental Responsibility for Ruby by being entered on her Birth Certificate as her father, he would have been in a much stronger position to leave Kirsty, taking Ruby with him, to prevent Ruby being at risk from any abuse from her mother.

As it was, Tyrone did not have Parental Responsibility for Ruby and Kirsty was able to involve the Police at the time that Tyrone decided to remove Ruby from her care and go on the run with her, together with Fiz (played by Jennie McAlpine), resulting in them ending up in Anglesey and Tyrone subsequently being arrested.

What course of action should Tyrone have taken?

Following the birth of Ruby, due to the fact that Tyrone was not put on the Birth Certificate and did not have Parental Responsibility, he should not have removed Ruby from Kirsty’s care and control without her permission.

In view of the fact that he was concerned that Kirsty may be violent and/or abusive towards Ruby, he should have sought emergency advice from a Solicitors, with a view to making a Without Notice application to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order, Prohibited Steps Order, to prevent Ruby from being removed from his care and control, save for the purpose of any agreed contact between her and Kirsty, which would have been best advised to take place on a supervised basis, and a Residence Order to provide security and stability for Ruby in his care.

The Court would, not necessarily, have granted the Orders sought to Tyrone on the basis that the application was made without any notice being given to Kirsty and would have to weigh up, in light of the circumstances, whether it would be better for the Orders to be made in this manner, or whether, prior to making the Orders, it would be better for the matter to be listed on notice to Kirsty and for a further Hearing to be listed in order that Kirsty’s views could be ascertained.

Had Tyrone secured such Orders, this would have meant that he could leave Kirsty straight away, taking Ruby with him to prevent her being at any risk of harm from Kirsty.

Section 1 of the Children Act 1989 clearly states that the welfare of the child is paramount and, the welfare checklist, which is taken into consideration by the Court in all children act matters, includes consideration of any harm or risk of harm that a child may be in.  In view of the circumstances, that Kirsty had continually been violent to Tyrone for a significant amount of time and there was a substantial risk that she may be violent to Ruby, Tyrone would have had more than sufficient grounds to pursue an application to Court for the aforementioned Orders, thereby providing protection for Ruby.

He could have also made an application to the Court for Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders under the Family Law Act 1996 which, if granted, would have prohibited Kirsty from subjecting Tyrone to further violence and/or threats of violence, may have provided an exclusion zone around the property in which the couple had lived and, if an Occupation Order had been granted, this could have resulted in Kirsty being forced to leave the property and for Tyrone to be afforded exclusive occupation of the same.  It is, however, to be noted that the Courts often consider the making of an Occupation Order to be a draconian and it is often the case that Undertakings (promises to the Court) are agreed, rather than these Orders being made.  When considering the making of Occupation Orders, the Court is obliged to take into account the housing and financial needs of the parties and any children in their care, and various other matters.

I’m in a similar situation to Tyrone, what can I do?

If the Police have been involved, due to the fact that you have been accused by your partner/ex-partner, of domestic violence, please do not hesitate to contact the Criminal Department at emeryjohnson solicitors who will be able to offer the relevant advice and assistance.  Legal Aid may be available to you, provided you are eligible for the same.

If you are being subjected to domestic violence, whether you are male or female, please contact the Family Department at emeryjohnson urgently for advice.  Dependent on your circumstances, advice and assistance may be available to you under the Legal Aid Scheme.

If you are experiencing problems in relation to Children Matters, whether you are concerned for a child’s safety, who is either in your care or the care of somebody else, or you are worried that your child may be abducted from your care and/or you require information in relation to the issue of Parental Responsibility, again, please contact the Family Department at emeryjohnson.

If Social Services are involved in relation to your child, please contact emeryjohnson’s Care Department, in respect of which Legal Aid may be available to you.

The telephone number of emeryjohnson Solicitors is:  0116 255 4855.  Please contact us straight away if you require advice and assistance in relation to any of the above matters.