Saturday 3 December 2016

Alleged sex abuse 'worst' in 20 years - Mr Justice Peter Kelly

Ray Managh

Published 20/08/2016 | 02:30

Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath
Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath

The alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of two children was "the most disturbing evidence" High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly has read in 20 years on the bench.

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Justice Kelly made the remarks during an application to have the children, who are both aged under ten, made wards of court by a couple who had fostered them for four years and who want to stop them being reunited with their natural parents.

After a District Court hearing for a care order relating to the children collapsed after 29 days of evidence, the Child and Family Agency (CFA) has been promoting their reunification with their biological parents.

Assessment

They have remained in the care of their foster parents with overnight access to their parents for two months.

They cannot be identified by order of the court.

Judge Kelly was told the CFA had carried out "an extraordinarily detailed risk assessment study" before supporting family reunification. The children were to have been reunited with their natural parents next Tuesday.

He said that day of reunification would not now take place as he was of the opinion the status quo should be maintained until another judge of the High Court had fully heard and decided on the wards of court application.

He adjourned the matter until September 8. He did not believe it would be in any way detrimental to the children not to rejoin their natural parents before that date.

Judge Kelly said the children, on the evidence he had read, would be going back into a situation that would be very detrimental to them.

The judge said the court had seen affidavits and reports alleging sexual abuse and cruelty of the children involving a family relative. He was told that Mr Pol O'Murchu, solicitor for the foster parents, would be opposed to any overnight access by the natural parents to the children.

"The question of overnight access fills me with considerable concern," the High Court President said.

He made an order the children not be reunited with their natural parents as planned and pending the September hearing.

Irish Independent

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