A judge has advised the lawyers for a retired Ulster and Scottish rugby player, his ex-wife and the PPS to “get together” and discuss how the cases against the estranged couple will proceed.
Simon Danielli, 37, and 29-year-old Olivia Danielli have made accusations and counter accusations against each other leading to him being charged with assaulting her, her friend and damaging her phone while Mrs Danielli is charged with causing criminal damage to his Jaguar XF car.
Both cases were listed at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when it was expected District Judge Mark Hamill would set dates for their respective trials, but Mr Danielli’s defence solicitor Dermot Bowes asked for his case to be adjourned for two weeks.
The lawyer told the court that was to allow time for the senior QC who had been instructed to consider lodging an abuse of process application.
If such an application were to be granted by the judge, that would result in the case against him being dismissed on the grounds it would be unfair to put him on trial.
Mr Danielli, from The Coaches in Holywood, is charged with causing criminal damage to an iPhone which belonged to his estranged wife, two counts of common assault against her and a further allegation of common assault against Michael Browne on 11 March last year.
Mrs Danielli, with an address at Marino Station Road, also in Holywood, faces a count of criminal damage, alleging that she damaged or destroyed her husband’s Jaguar XF car on 9 August last year.
At one stage Mrs Danielli had also been accused of assaulting the 6’2” ex-international winger but that charge was dropped by the prosecution.
Judge Hamill repeated to Mr Bowes and to Conan Wray, appearing for Mrs Danielli, that he would deal with the trials “chronologically”.
He added however that “here is the difficulty” in approaching the cases given the PPS have brought prosecutions against the estranged couple.
“It is difficult to see how they will say ‘we will stand him as a witness of truth’ and then on the other hand, stand her as a witness of truth,” said the judge. “Witness of truth one day and liar the next ... it’s hard to ride several horses in the race.”
Judge Hamill told the lawyers he had a “suggestion” for them all to get together “and talk about a binding over [order] as a potential outcome”.
Ex-Bath, Borders and Ulster winger Mr Danielli made 32 appearances for Scotland and 78 for Ulster before retiring in 2012 due to a back injury.
His estranged wife Olivia Danielli (nee Jennings) is the daughter of one of NI’s wealthiest men, property developer Seamus Jennings, who in 2012 was said to be worth £67 million.
A former model, the 29-year-old mum-of-three previously worked for Alison Clarke’s prestigious agency ACA Models.