Couple accused of child cruelty could face ‘further charges’

Man and woman held in custody after daughter (9) hospitalised in July

A couple accused of child cruelty after their nine-year-old daughter was discovered with serious injuries at their home in north Dublin have been further held. FIle photograph: Frank Miller

A couple accused of child cruelty after their nine-year-old daughter was discovered with serious injuries at their home in north Dublin have been further held. FIle photograph: Frank Miller

 

A couple accused of child cruelty after their nine-year-old daughter was discovered with serious injuries at their home in north Dublin have been further held in custody pending “further charges”.

The girl was taken to Temple Street Children’s Hospital on July 2nd and is still receiving treatment.

Gardaí launched an investigation and arrested the mother and father, who are aged in their 30s, last week.

The married couple, who are non-Irish nationals, are charged under under Section 246 of the Children’s Act, for alleged treatment of the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health or seriously to affect her being. It can, on conviction, carry a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment.

The woman faces an additional charge for failing to seek medical assistance for the girl for a head injury.

They made no application for bail when their case came before Dublin District Court last Friday. They faced their second hearing on Wednesday when they appeared before Judge John Hughes.

The man and woman sat beside each at the side of the courtroom. They spoke briefly to each other and listened to the proceedings with the assistance of an interpreter.

The woman was in tears throughout the hearing.

Det Sgt Eoin McDonnell told the judge he was making an application for a further one week remand in custody pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions and “possible further charges”.

Defence solicitor Sinead Mulhall consented to the application for the adjournment.

The judge said reporting restrictions imposed last week remain in place as he further remanded the pair in custody to appear again on August 21st next.

At their first hearing, Det Gda Aoife O’Brien said she arrested the 35-year-old woman in Dublin’s south-side on August 7th under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. She was brought to Coolock station where she was charged the following night.

The court has heard she made no reply to the charge.

A psychiatric evaluation of the woman had been directed by the court following a request from the defence last Friday.

At their first hearing last week, Det Sgt McDonnell told the court the co-accused also made no reply when charged.

The reporting restriction order was made initially after the defence asked that their clients’ identities would not be reported, “given the sensitive nature of the charge”. There were other children involved and the woman had frequent access to them, the court was told.

The court was also told the woman had “no experience of the Irish criminal justice system or any criminal justice system”.