Fa­ther avoids con­vic­tion for grab­bing his son, 10

Irish Examiner - - News - Noel Baker

A man has been found to have as­saulted his son but has es­caped a con­vic­tion.

A re­cent district court sit­ting in the South-West heard that on a pre­vi­ous date, pros­e­cu­tion ev­i­dence had been heard that them an had grabbed his 10-year-old son by the throat, caus­ing him to hit his head on a door be­fore fall­ing to the ground while he was on an ac­cess visit.

The judge said the court had heard from the boy, his sis­ter, and a spe­cial­ist garda in­ter­viewer in re­la­tion to the al­le­ga­tion, which the man de­nied.

He lives in Co Cork and his for­mer part­ner lives in the North East.

The court heard ev­i­dence from the man, and his cur­rent part­ner, that he did not grab his son by the throat but rather held him by the shoul­der while try­ing to get him to re­move one of three Tshirts he was wear­ing. The court heard it was cus­tom­ary that clothes worn by the chil­dren dur­ing their vis­its south stayed there, and that the boy was hot but re­fused to take off the T-shirts or a pair of track­suit bot­toms.

The man told the judge that on the evening in ques­tion he drove his chil­dren back to the home of his for­mer part­ner, but dis­cov­ered she was not there and that only his el­dest child, who had not vis­ited him that week­end, was present. He said be­cause he did not want the chil­dren to be on their own he went to a Garda sta­tion and re­ported the mat­ter, the court hear­ing that it was logged as child ne­glect.

The court heard claims that the chil­dren were ex­tremely phys­i­cal with each other and the boy could have been hurt sub­se­quently that evening. When re­minded of the ev­i­dence given in court and in state­ments from the boy and his sis­ter, the man claimed they may have been coached by his wife.

The judge heard that the mother no­ticed marks on her son’s neck and went to re­port the mat­ter to Tusla. The judge noted that this was done be­fore the boy was taken to a GP, who in his notes re­ferred to ten­der­ness to the sides of the boy’s neck.

The man’s solic­i­tor said the fam­ily law court lo­cal to the woman and Tusla both looked into the in­ci­dent and said there were no child pro­tec­tion con­cerns and con­sid­ered the mat­ter closed.

The man’s part­ner, who was present at the time of the al­leged in­ci­dent, de­nied he had grabbed his son’s throat or that he hit his head or fell to the ground. Voices were raised, she said, but “it was not se­vere yelling”.

“It was a touch and a pull but it was not vi­o­lent in any way on the shoul­der.”

The judge said he be­lieved there was a “sig­nif­i­cant body of ev­i­dence” against the ac­cused and that when the chil­dren had been giv­ing ev­i­dence in court they had sought to “down­play” what hap­pened, feel­ing un­com­fort­able and em­bar­rassed about giv­ing ev­i­dence against their fa­ther.

He said the con­text was a mar­riage break up some years ago and that the fa­ther, like the mother on the pre­vi­ous court date, had not lost an op­por­tu­nity to “at­tack and smear the other par­ent”.

The judge said the man’s ev­i­dence min­imised what had hap­pened. “The court has no doubt there was a phys­i­cal as­sault here.”

The fa­ther had no con­vic­tions and the judge said a con­vic­tion in this in­stance “would be damn­ing” and may have im­pli­ca­tion for his work. Is­su­ing a con­di­tional dis­charge un­der the Pro­ba­tion Act, the judge said the man was re­quired to keep the peace and com­mit no of­fence for three years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.