Thursday 27 July 2017

Child was punched and kicked by father, court told

Fiona Ferguson

A YOUNG boy was brought to his foster mother's home wearing clothes two sizes too small and covered his food with his hands as if to stop someone taking it, a court heard yesterday.

The woman was giving evidence at the trial in the Central Criminal Court of the boy's father, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

He has pleaded not guilty to the rape and sexual assault of his now 10-year-old daughter and the sexual assault of his now 13-year-old son on dates in 2007.

He also pleaded not guilty to the assault of his three sons in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering, injury to the children's health or seriously affect their well-being.

The father denied the wilful neglect of his five children, now aged between seven and 14, by failing to provide adequate clothing or food.

The foster mother told the court the boy came to stay with her in September 2007, aged 10. She noticed that he was small and very dirty.

The woman said his trousers were too short and his top was two sizes too small. His runners were full of holes, he had no socks and no underwear.

The boy was hungry, so she made him chicken nuggets and chips. When she put the plate on the table, he put his hands over it "as if someone was going to take it from him".

She bought clothes for the boy and got him to shower. He could not understand that he had to shower and change his underwear every day.

Within weeks, she discovered the boy could not spell but he was "quite a bright child" who loved to be praised for getting his spelling and maths right.

The boy told Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that his father kicked and punched him with his fists and also used shoes and belts to hit him.

However, during cross-examination, he said the family were "kind of" happy.

Asked if he felt loved by his mother, the boy replied "Yes". Asked if he loved his father, he replied "No".

Shower

He said on a normal day he would have "Kellogg's" for his breakfast which his mum got ready and then his dad went off to work. He would go home in the evenings when he was hungry and said: "There would be food on the table."

The boy agreed he had clothes and some were for special occasions. He said he liked shorts and short-sleeved tops.

The boy said his father was "good" at giving him toys and agreed that he had a Playstation in his room. He agreed that his father had given him a bicycle and taken him for "spins" on a motor-cross bike, which he enjoyed.

Counsel for the accused claimed that the father was only reprimanding the boy after he and his brother misbehaved.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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