independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Couple face prison for being drunk with child (4)

A COUPLE are facing a month in jail after they were found drunk on the street with the woman's four-year-old daughter.

The little girl spent 10 days in state care after the HSE became involved in the case, and a judge said it must have been traumatic for her to be "in the arms of strangers".

The man and woman, both aged 39, appeared before Judge Desmond Zaidan at Athy District Court, where he said their behaviour was "appalling".

The judge asked the couple if they realised the harm they'd caused the little girl. "She deserves better than this," he said, adding that she will suffer "serious psychological effects" if their behaviour continues.

The couple pleaded guilty to being drunk while caring for a child under the age of seven.

Beer

Garda Sergeant Thomas Harte described how he noticed the pair with the little girl as he was driving through Athy at around 10.30pm last September.

The girl was in her mother's arms, while the man carried a tray of beer. Both adults were visibly drunk, and when the sergeant followed them to their flat, they were so drunk they could barely stand.

The girl's mother has no previous convictions, but her partner has 39 convictions for theft, trespass, drugs, criminal damage, public order and other offences.

They are both unemployed and were granted legal aid.

Solicitors for the couple said the incident had been a wake-up call for them. The man and woman have since visited the Poor Clares in Carlow and both have taken the pledge.

However, Judge Zaidan said he had no faith in pledges to stop drinking, and asked the probation service to assess the couple.

If reports were not positive when they came back before the court on May 28, they could face a month in prison and he would not hesitate to get the HSE involved again, he said.

Irish Independent

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