Wednesday 21 March 2018

'He's the devil' - dad who punched daughter (8) in the face avoids jail

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Tom Tuite

A father who lashed out and punched his eight-year-old daughter in the face has avoided a jail term.

The victim of the vicious assault described him in a victim impact statement as "the devil".

The now 12-year-old girl said she still suffers nightmares and no longer saw him as her father.

The statement added: "I think he is the devil and a really, really mean person. What he did to me and my brother and mum is disgusting. I don't want to be connected with him."

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identify of the girl, denied assault causing harm to her at their home in Dublin on a date in 2013.

The attack happened after she was being scolded for going to visit neighbours without telling her family.

Her father was convicted after he went on trial before Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court.

The case had been adjourned for a probation report on him to be completed and a victim impact statement from his daughter to be furnished to the court.

The man, who is in his forties, did not address the court during his sentence hearing in which his barrister submitted that he has expressed genuine remorse.

He had worked all his life and the Probation Service "placed him at the lower end of low risk of re-offending", defence counsel Aoife McNickle said in pleas for leniency.

Judge Anthony Halpin said the man "minimises his actions". He said the girl had been the subject of a vicious assault by her father and certainly the reason that led to the assault itself would have been innocuous by many people's standards.

The man's reaction was totally disproportionate and he did not believe he was remorseful, Judge Halpin said.

By contesting the case, he had been saying the young child was lying and that was contrary to his expression of remorse, the judge said.

However, he noted the man had no previous convictions in relation to such assaults and he had been obliged to seek the probation report, but he said the father had not learned a lesson.

He imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition the man keeps the peace and does not offend over the next two years.

The girl's stepmother told the trial that as she was giving out to the girl for leaving the house, her former partner suddenly punched or slapped the child.

She said the girl had a bleeding nostril and she grabbed and hugged the child before bringing her upstairs.

She said she checked her daughter throughout the night to make sure she was breathing OK. "I was horrified, nothing was the same after," the woman had said.

She said her former partner "positioned himself and bang", adding that it looked like he "was in a fight".

Irish Independent

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