Wednesday 18 September 2019

Couple accused of child cruelty after daughter (9) found with serious injuries are remanded in custody

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Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Prosecutors have been given more time to prepare their case against a couple accused of child cruelty after their nine-year-old daughter was discovered with serious injuries at her Dublin home.

The parents were remanded in custody for another three weeks pending the directions of the DPP when they appeared in Dublin District Court this afternoon.

They were arrested earlier this month when gardai launched an investigation after the girl was rushed to Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Today was the couple's third court appearance.

Detective Sergeant Eoin McDonnell told Judge John Lindsay he was applying for a further three-week remand in custody for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Judge Lindsay asked the defendant’s lawyer if that was by consent. She replied that it was and the case was adjourned to September 11.

The woman, dressed all in black. and the man, in a navy jacket, jeans and carrying a plastic shopping bag, did not address the court during the brief hearing but consulted their lawyer quietly as they sat beside each other in the dock.

The 35-year-old woman faces two counts under Section 246 of the Children Act.

One charge was for failing to seek medical assistance for the girl for a head injury.

The second charge alleged treatment of the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health or to seriously affect her wellbeing.

The 37-year-old man faces a single charge, also under Section 246 of the Children Act, for treatment of the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health or seriously affect her well being.

Previously, Det Sgt McDonnell said there was a possibility further charges could be brought.

Detective Garda Aoife O’Brien gave evidence at the first hearing that she arrested the woman on August 7 and brought her to Coolock Garda Station where she was charged the following night.

The court had heard that the woman made no reply to the charges after caution.

A psychiatric evaluation of the woman was directed by the court following a request from the defence.

Also at the first hearing, Det Sgt McDonnell told the court that the male co-accused also made no reply when he was charged.

Reporting restrictions are in place prohibiting the identification of the accused.

The reporting restriction order was made after lawyers for the couple asked that their clients’ identities not be reported, “given the sensitive nature of the charge”.

There were other children involved and the woman had frequent access to them, the court heard.

The court was also told that the woman had “no experience of the Irish criminal justice system or any criminal justice system”.

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