Tuesday 15 October 2019

Girl (9) in critical condition after she was allegedly subjected to cruelty by her parents, court hears

Dublin's Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Dublin's Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A NINE-year-old girl remains in a 'critical condition' in hospital after she was allegedly subjected to cruelty by her parents at their Dublin home.

The child was admitted to Temple Street hospital last month suffering from a head injury as well as "burns, bites, swelling and bruising," a court heard.

Her mother (35) and father (37) were refused bail today after gardai said it was feared they would flee the country if released.

Judge Bryan Smyth remanded them in continuing custody for the directions of the DPP to be made available, including possible further serious charges.

Both husband and wife, who cannot be named, are charged with wilfully neglecting or ill-treating their daughter in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health or seriously affect her well being.

The woman is also charged with an additional count of failing to seek medical assistance for the girl for a head injury.

Objecting to bail, Detective Sergeant Eoin McDonnell cited the nature, degree and seriousness of the offences, alleged to have happened on August 2. The accused had been in custody since they were arrested on August 7.

The neglect charge carried a maximum potential sentence of seven years, he said.

Det Sgt McDonnell said the alleged victim remained in hospital in a critical condition as a result of injuries sustained in the incident. He said the accused provided a version of events which gardai would say has been refuted and disproven by evidence including phone data.

It was alleged a false version of the accused's whereabouts was provided and that they were aware their daughter was sick on the date in question for several hours before contacting the emergency services.

It was alleged the accused rang 999 for three seconds before the call disconnected. The girl had suffered burns, bites, swelling and bruising that were not accidental or self-inflicted and not consistent with the version of events given by the accused.

Det Sgt McDonnell said the accused had made it "difficult" to be located when they became aware gardai wished to speak to them.

They had come to Ireland as asylum seekers several years ago and had left the alleged victim in their country of origin before bringing her here this year, he said.

Seeking bail, defence barrister James Egan said the accused had applied for Irish citizenship and their five children were now all in Ireland.

On the date of the alleged offences, the father had accompanied his daughter to hospital in an ambulance, Mr Egan said.

Det Sgt McDonnell accepted the accused had been "frequent visitors" to their daughter in hospital between the time she was admitted and their arrest.

Interim care orders had since been made in relation to their other four children.

Mr Egan said the accused could have fled in the days after their daughter was taken to hospital if they had chosen to. They had ties to Ireland including several family members living here. Their passports could be surrendered, he said.

The girl's father was gainfully employed as a mechanic while his wife was a stay-at-home mother.

She had day to day care of her children until her arrest and it was a "very difficult time for her," Mr Egan said.

Judge Smyth said he was satisfied that the garda objections were well-founded. He refused bail and remanded the accused in custody to appear in court again on October 14.

The husband and wife, who were assisted in court by an interpreter, sat side by side in the dock and remained silent during the hearing.

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