A 37-year-old Cork man with an alcohol problem admitted taking his two children to a guesthouse in Kerry and then leaving them alone when he went out drinking – only to return and hit one of them a number of times.
The defendant before Cork District Court for sentencing on counts of child cruelty against both daughters cannot be named as it would identify the victims.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, reminded Judge Olann Kelleher that the case had been before the court on many occasions since the incident at the centre of the case occurred two years ago where he brought them away with him overnight and he went drinking.
Inspector Margaret Murrell said the defendant also give alcohol to the children.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that the events of the night in January 2018 had exposed the two girls to a lot of fear.
The judge noted from extensive background reports that the defendant had taken a lot of measures to turn his life around.
Judge Kelleher said it was a serious matter. He imposed a jail term of ten months which he suspended for a period of two years. A key condition of the suspension of the sentence is that the accused must comply with the directions of the probation service. This includes attendance at alcohol treatment and aftercare.
The judge said that if there was any evidence of a breach by the defendant then he would serve the ten months in jail automatically.
Insp Murrell said it was the girls’ mother who reported that their father had taken them to Kerry, after she received a number of missed calls from her daughters who were in their early teens.
The inspector said it emerged that the father had been drinking and provided his daughters with alcohol too.
“He left them alone at 1 a.m. They woke at 4 a.m. and he had not returned. He did return at 5 a.m. when he appeared extremely intoxicated. He became verbally abuse and slapped (child’s name) on the side of the face and grabbed her hair and pushed her down on the bed. He hit her with the back of his hand a number of times,” Insp Murrell said.