Thursday 27 October 2016

No prosecution for parents of 'abuse' children

Ray Managh

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

The parents of two children alleged to have been sexually abused in a family environment told the High Court they will not take steps before February to overturn an agreement for them to remain in care.

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Ms Justice Marie Baker ruled that in the meantime a risk assessment study by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, if necessary under the direction of the District Court, be carried out on the possibility of the children returning to their natural parents.

The children, who are under the age of 10, will continue in the care of their foster parents, who had applied to have them made wards of court to block their being returned to the care of their natural parents.

High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly had on August 18 directed that the question of Wardship jurisdiction be considered by another judge after he made reference to "disturbing evidence" about alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of the children.

He temporarily restrained the children from being reunited with their parents and said the alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of the two children was the most disturbing evidence he had read in 20 years.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Baker was told the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided not to bring any criminal prosecutions against the natural parents.

She heard that an uncle of the children had been charged with serious offences.

Rosario Boyle SC, counsel for the foster parents looking after the children, said the DPP's decision was a new development in proceedings being heard by Ms Justice Baker - who reserved a decision on whether or not the court's Wardship process was the appropriate way of dealing with the protection of the children.

Ms Justice Baker adjourned generally the question of the appropriateness of the High Court's Wardship jurisdiction to deal with the care of the children.

She has heard that Tusla "inexplicably" withdrew an application to the District Court for a care order relating to the children after a judge had listened to evidence and legal argument for 29 days.

The agency had been promoting the children's reunification with their natural parents, but withdrew the case on the 29th day on the basis it was "too toxic and cost too much".

Ms Justice Baker adjourned generally the question of jurisdiction and gave the parties leave to apply to the court.

Irish Independent

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