Wednesday 17 January 2018

Woman pleads guilty to attempted abduction of child from creche

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Declan Brennan

A woman has pleaded guilty to the abduction of a toddler from a child care facility.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took the two year old child from an early years school in south county Dublin on September 22 last. The offence is contrary to section 17 of the Non-fatal Offences against the Persons Act, 1997.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the woman, who is in her 20s, has a diagnosis of Schizophrenia and her mental capacity is also affected by her difficulties with poly-substance abuse. She had previously received treatment at the Central Mental Hospital and the court heard her condition has improved dramatically.

Judge Martin Nolan released the woman on bail on strict conditions including that she stay away from crèches, schools and anywhere children are gathered. He set a date for her sentencing next Tuesday.

During the bail application hearing Gda Shane Doyle said that the woman went to the back garden of the child care facility and spoke to staff , claiming to be the mother of one of the children there.

She took the child by the hand and staff followed her and separated her from the child. Staff told gardaí afterwards that she was calm and purposeful.

Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, said there was a great deal of sympathy for the accused and her difficulties. But he said the State was objecting to her release on bail as there was a concern of a risk that the woman may commit more offences .

In his application for bail, defence counsel Niall Nolan BL said his client had an appointment with a consultant psychiatrist tomorrow. He said this appointment was her lifeline and she was asking the court to give her a chance.

He said she had found this two month period in custody horrendous. Counsel said the woman would abide by all the conditions of her bail.

These conditions include a curfew between 10pm and 7am and signing on daily at a garda station. The woman must also live at her mother's home in south Dublin, stay sober and keep the peace.

Granting bail Judge Nolan said the most decisive issue for the court was the safety of the public. He said he would need certain expert testimony as to this issue in the future and that the report from the consultant psychiatrist may be helpful.

“Can I take a risk – I'm not sure if it's a risk – of letting her out on bail? I think the risk is not appreciable,” he said, noting that there was no such thing as a zero risk.

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