News Courts

Saturday 23 August 2014

Abuse case boy (2) held open beer can and was visibly sunburnt

Majella O’Sullivan and Marisa Reidy

Published 11/06/2014 | 13:04

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A mother found drunk, with her two-year-old son clutching a can of beer, has been jailed.

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The toddler was sitting in a wet nappy, with a six-pack of beer between his legs and complaining of being hungry after gardai stopped a car at a popular seaside resort.

A district court sitting heard that the young child was wearing only shorts and socks and was visibly sunburnt.

He had an open beer can in his hand and a smell of alcohol from his breath.

The mother admitted all charges and apologised for what happened in Ballybunion, Co Kerry last year.

Gardai said the four adults in the car were all drunk, with the mother in the front passenger seat and the young boy – who was just weeks shy of his third birthday – in the back.

Judge James O’Connor jailed the woman from Limerick for eight months for child cruelty and a further five months for possession of a knife with intent to cause injury.

The knife was hidden in her bra. She pleaded guilty to all charges.

The horrific details were revealed at a Kerry court sitting.

Judge James O’Connor heard that on June 8 last year, there were four adults in the car – including the child’s mother – who were drunk.

The vehicle had driven the wrong way up a one-way street in Ballybunion, Co Kerry.

Listowel District Court was told that the child, who was in the back seat, had a six-pack of beer between his legs and had an open can in his hand and there was a smell of alcohol from his breath.

Supt Willie Leahy said the toddler was wearing only shorts and socks and was visibly sunburnt.

There was a smell of urine from the toddler and it was clear his nappy had not been changed for some time. When gardaí removed the child from the car his socks were wet and he was complaining of being hungry.

When officers searched the child’s mother they uncovered a flick-knife concealed in her bra.

The court heard the defendant is currently serving a prison sentence for a number of other charges which were not detailed in court.

She was due for release in November.

Solicitor Pat Enright said that while his client was pleading guilty to all charges and admitted she was intoxicated, she disputed that the child was drinking beer and argued that one person in the car was sober.

Mr Enright told the court that she admitted neglect, however, and wished to apologise for her actions.

The solicitor said that after the incident the child was taken into HSE care and was subsequently placed with his grandparents where he continues to be well looked after.

He said that since being jailed on the other matters, the young mother has turned things around and is doing well in the prison system and is free from drugs.

He said she is in regular contact with her family and is looking forward to building a relationship with her child when she is released.

Mr Enright added that the woman asked to express her apologies and regret for “getting involved in a situation she had no control over”.

Judge James O’Connor sentenced the woman to eight months in prison for child cruelty under Section 246 of the Children’s Act 2001 and five months for possession of a knife with intent to cause injury.

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