Monday 23 October 2017

Man convicted of sexually assaulting a one-year-old baby

The case was in the Circuit Civil Court.
The case was in the Circuit Civil Court.

Angela Mullin

A man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a one-year-old baby ten years ago.

The 45-year-old man had pleaded not guilty in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault between April 2005 and October 2006 in County Clare.

The man was previously sentenced to twelve years for sexually abusing two young girls. He will be sentenced in April on this new conviction.

After a three-day trial a jury of nine men and three women returned a majority guilty verdict after deliberating for just under four hours.

During the trial prosecuting counsel Anne Rowland BL told the jury that the victim’s older sister, who was ten at the time of the incident, was the main witness in the case.

She told the court how the victim and her siblings were living in "extremely difficult" circumstances at the time of the incident. Their parents were heavy drinkers and the children would often go hungry and have no heat or electricity in the house.

The court heard that when the baby girl was brought home from hospital, she was handed to her older sister to look after so the parents could go drinking.

The witness testified that she came home from school and walked into the house to find her baby sister naked on the sitting room floor. The man was carrying out a sexual assault on the baby. On seeing this, she grabbed a poker and hit the man over the head to get him to stop.

The victim’s sister, now 19, told defence counsel Geraldine Fitzpatrick SC that the abuser knew the family and would often arrive at the house extremely drunk and fall asleep in a chair. He would sometimes be left alone in the house to keep an eye on the children.

The man was arrested on July 26, 2011 and denied the allegations when questioned by gardaí

The court heard that the child’s foster mother brought her to be examined by a consultant paediatrician in July 2011. This doctor found skin tags in the baby’s behind that were the result of a healed fissure.

She told the court that the position of the baby’s skin tags were "likely to have been a result of trauma".

Judge Sarah Berkley remanded in custody for sentencing on April 14 next.

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