A MOTHER wept in court today as she was returned for trial on charges of neglect and cruel treatment of three of her young children as well as seriously assaulting one of them.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been charged at Dublin District Court in June with three counts of child cruelty under Section 246 of the 2001 Children Act.
She is accused of wilfully neglecting, abusing and ill-treating her young sons and as well as her daughter, who are all under the age of 10, in a manner likely to cause suffering to their health and seriously affect their well being, on a date in August last year.
She also faces a second charge for assault causing harm to her daughter on a date in February last year. All the offences are alleged to have happened at her home, in Co. Kildare.
Earlier, Detective Garda Paul Carney had told the district court that the woman, who is in her forties, made “no reply” when the four charges were put to her.
The woman had been remanded on conditional bail to appear again today at Dublin District Court when she was served with a book of evidence by Det-Gda Carney.
Judge Victor Blake made an order sending her forward for trial at Naas Circuit Court on November 11 next.
He told the woman, who was in tears, that if she intended to rely on an alibi in her defence, she must notify the prosecution within 14 days.
She nodded and replied “yes” when asked if she understood.
He noted that there was no objection to bail and ordered her to sign on once a week at her local garda station. The woman, who has already surrendered her passport, was told that she cannot apply for alternative travel documents and must continue to reside at her current address.
The court had been told earlier that she had has restricted access to her children, who are now in care, and yesterday (WED) she was warned that she must not discuss the case during supervised visits.
The defendant, who has not yet indicated how she will be pleading to the charges, was also granted legal aid.
A Circuit Court conviction can result in a fine in excess of €12,000 and sentences of up to seven years for the child cruelty charges, and a maximum five-year term for assault causing harm.