Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mother who filmed 4 year old daughter with exposed man will be sentenced next week

Declan Brennan `

A YOUNG woman who filmed her 4-year-old daughter with a man who was naked from the waist down will be sentenced next week.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting and sexually exploiting the female child on March 12, 2010 in Dublin.

The woman can be heard laughing and telling the child to “smile for the camera” on the mobile phone footage.

Detective Garda Brian Jennings told prosecuting counsel Tara Burns that the video showed a man on a bed with his bottom half naked and the child’s face in close proximity to the man’s groin area.

The footage came to light when a member of the public found a crushed mobile phone on the road and checked the contents of the phone’s memory card using a second phone.

This person became concerned after seeing the video footage and handed the card into gardai who tracked down the mother and immediately took the child into care.

During the sentencing hearing the footage was viewed only by Judge Martin Nolan, but the sound of two adults and a child laughing could be heard in court.

Det Gda Jennings told Giollaiosa O' Lideadha SC, defending, that when gardai later showed the video footage to the woman she said she was sickened by it and she began visibly gagging.

Defence counsel said his client said had a serious drink problem and was drunk on the night the video was made.

He said there was a complicated and very unsavoury psychological factor involved in his client’s relationship with her ex-partner, the man in the video. He said this was related to trying to maintain a relationship with him.

He said his client was emotionally unstable with a limited cognitive ability. He said she had to get over her disgust at what happened before she was able to accept fully her own role, which she now does.

A report handed into the court said she was at a low risk of committing sexual offences in the future and that she should continue with therapy.

Mr O’Lideadha said she hasn’t drunk alcohol since February 2011 and had completed a twelve steps alcoholic recovery programme.

Judge Nolan said this was a “squalid crime” and said the woman had failed to carry out the “most basic duty of a mother, to protect her child”.

He remanded her on continuing bail for sentencing on Monday next. The offence of exploitation carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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