Wednesday 18 September 2019

Couple accused of child cruelty after daughter (9) found with serious injuries held pending possible 'further charges'

Temple Street Children's Hospital
Temple Street Children's Hospital

Tom Tuite

A COUPLE accused of child cruelty after their nine-year-old daughter was discovered with serious injuries at their home in north Dublin have postponed a bail application.

The girl was taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital on July 2 last and is still receiving treatment.

Gardai launched an investigation and arrested the mother and father, both aged in their 30s, last month.

The married couple, who are non-Irish nationals, were charged under under Section 246 of the Children’s Act for alleged treatment of the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health or seriously to affect her being. It can, on conviction, carry a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment.

The woman faces an additional charge for failing to seek medical assistance for the girl for a head injury.

They made no application for bail when their case first came before Dublin District Court on August 9 last. Gardai have told the court that further charges could be brought.

They faced their fourth hearing today when they appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth.

The man and woman did not address the court. Defence counsel James Egan told the district court a bail application was to be made today but they were not in a position to move it, and he asked for the case to be adjourned until Monday.

Judge Smyth acceded to the request.

The pair cannot be named for legal reasons.

At their first hearing, Detective Garda Aoife O’Brien said she arrested the 35-year-old woman in Dublin’s south-side on August 7 under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. She was brought to Coolock Garda Station where she was charged the following night.

The court has heard she made no reply to the charge.

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

Detective Sergeant Eoin McDonnell had told the court the man also made no reply when charged.

A reporting restriction order was made initially after the defence asked that their clients’ identities would 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 was told.

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

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