Sunday 18 March 2018

Mum to stand trial on child cruelty charges

A MOTHER is to face trial accused of cruelty to three of her young children and seriously assaulting one of them.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared at Dublin District Court following her arrest this morning and was granted bail with strict conditions.

The mother, who is a foreign national, faces three child cruelty charges under Section 246 of the 2001 Children Act.

She is accused of wilfully neglecting, abusing and ill-treating her young sons and as well as her daughter, who are all under the age of 10, in a manner likely to cause suffering to their health and seriously affect their well being, on a date last August.

She also faces a second charge for assault causing harm to her daughter on a date in February last year. All the offences are alleged to have happened at her home, in Co. Kildare.

Detective Garda Paul Carney told Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin that the woman, who is in her early forties, had been arrested this morning and made “no reply” when the four charges were put to her.

He did not object to bail subject to the woman obeying a number of conditions which the judge agreed to impose.

The woman was ordered to surrender her travel documents, reside at her current address and not to “interfere with witnesses” for the duration of the proceedings.

She has restricted access to her children, who are now in care, and Judge Ni Chonduin told her that she must not discuss the case with them during supervised visits.

Counsel defending said there was no objection to these bail terms being set.

The defendant, who has not yet indicated how she will be pleading to the charges, gave an undertaking in court that she would abide by the bail terms.

She was then ordered to appear again in two weeks to allow time for directions from the DPP to be obtained, which will determine whether her case is to be dealt with at district court level or instead be sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court which can impose tougher sentences.

A district court conviction can result in a fine and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail for each of charges.

However, at Circuit Court level a conviction can result in sentences of up to seven years for the child cruelty charges, and a maximum five-year term for assault causing harm.

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