Judge dismisses assault charges against care worker

Roberta Neilon Hynes was accused of kicking woman with disability at HSE facility

Three charges of assault brought against a care assistant were dismissed at a special sitting of Longford District Court on Friday.

Roberta Neilon Hynes, with an address at Castle Nugent, Granard, Co Longford, was accused of assaulting a resident at a HSE care facility at Oaklands Grove, Oaklands, Longford, on April 5th, 2015.

She was further accused of assaulting a second resident on July 5th, 2015, and on a date between May 2nd-8th, 2015. The facility houses persons with intellectual disability.

Six witnesses were called by the prosecution to give evidence. The main witness Judy Maher began work at Oaklands as a care assistant on April 3rd last year.

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She alleged that on April 5th, 2015, Ms Neilon Hynes had used offensive language towards one of the residents, before kicking the woman in question as she attempted to move her to another room.

Ms Maher also told the court she had observed Ms Neilon Hynes use physical means to get a second resident to sit down on a date after the May Bank Holiday last year.

Care assistants Veronica Beirne and Helen Brady also gave evidence. Both witnesses stated that while they had seen marks or bruising on one of the alleged victims, they had never observed Ms Neilon Hynes abusing anyone.

Judge Seamus Hughes then addressed the court, pointing out that he must "have no doubt whatsoever" about the charges.

He described Ms Maher’s evidence as “somewhat ropey” and as “conflicting and confusing” before dismissing all three charges before the court.

However, the judge noted Ms Maher had acted out of “the best of motives”.