Wednesday 22 November 2017

Man hit boys retrieving ball from his garden

Two young boys who went into a neighbour's garden to retrieve a football were hit with a stick by the owner, Dundalk District Court heard last week.

The 49-year-old man denied a charge of assault causing harm following the incident at a housing estate in Dundalk on May 11 last year. The defendant cannot be identified because of the ages of the victims, who were ten and 12.

Giving evidence by video-link, the boys said that they had been playing football against a gate on the defendant's home. When the ball went over the gate they went into the garden to retrieve it and they admitted they hadn't got permission to enter the garden.

The boys said that a man, whom they knew, came out and struck one on the back with a stick and the other on the back of his left leg. Both boys said they were sore for a number of days.

The parents of the victims took photos of the injuries which were handed into court.

The mother of one of the boys went to the man's house to ask him about the incident but said he denied hitting them.

In a statement to Gardai, the defendant said he didn't strike them but asked what they were doing in his garden, and warned them not to come back. If he had known the identity of the boys he would have contacted their parents.

Solicitor, Conor MacGuill, said his client faced a charge of assault causing harm, but no evidence had been given of harm being caused and there were no medical reports.

Inspector Martin Beggy argued the evidence was provided by the photographs and the fact that the boys said they were sore. He added that while the offence was at the lower end of the scale, 'any assault on a child is serious'.

Judge Flann Brennan ruled that there was evidence of harm from the marks on them and the fact that they were sore, and this was corroborated by the photos.

Judge Brennan said he was in no doubt that the case had been proved and he praised the two young boys for the honesty of their evidence.

The judge added that it was 'a nasty, unpleasant and upsetting experience' for the boys. Although it was at the lower end of the scale, it was a serious matter.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case to February 15 for a Probation report and victim impact reports.

Irish Independent

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