The dad who slapped his two-year-old daughter in a Cork supermarket causing such concern that two witnesses reported him to gardaí was convicted and fined a total of €700 today.
The accused was never in trouble in his life and his wife described him as “a devoted husband and father to his child.”
Eddie Burke, defence solicitor, said he had seen the 46-year-old with his daughter, who is now four and a half, and was just short of her third birthday at the time of the supermarket assaults.
“He is blessed with the child. She is the life of them. He is respectful and caring. I have witnessed this myself.
“His whole purpose in life is the child,” Mr Burke said today at Cork District Court.
This evidence in mitigation was in marked contrast to the outline of what happened in the supermarket and outside in the car park at lunchtime on July 23 2017.
Judge Olann Kelleher heard the evidence in the contested case where the father of the child pleaded not guilty to two counts of assaulting his daughter.
The judge found the facts of the prosecution proven but he put the matter back until today for a probation report on the father and a victim impact statement on the child which was prepared by the mother. The judge said it was for him to decide if he would proceed to convict and impose penalty.
Sergeant Ann Marie Twomey reminded the judge of the background to the case.
“He assaulted her by hitting her across the legs while she was trying to get out of the shopping trolley.
“He assaulted her in the car park of the shopping centre by slapping her repeatedly, shouting ‘enough’. She was in the car park in the rear of the car. The child was crying,” Sgt. Twomey said.
Two women who witnessed the assaults went to the local garda station and reported to gardaí what they had seen.
One witness said during the trial, that the man stretched out his arm behind his back and repeatedly swiped his arm into the car slapping where there was a child sitting in the car seat.
This woman told of hearing the man say three times to the child, “Have you enough now?” Another woman described seeing something in the supermarket a short time before this.
“I heard a commotion – the child screaming, very high pitched. I saw her in the trolley trying to get out. She was very distressed. I was tempted to go over. I did not interfere. The screaming continued."
Judge Kelleher said that the probation report noted that the defendant had not co-operated fully and that the probation service was no longer in a position to deal with the accused.
The judge said of the victim impact statement prepared by the child’s mother, “It is nothing to do with the victim as such. It does not say anything about the effect on the victim.”
Judge Kelleher said: “It is a very sad case. He slapped the child so aggressively that two independent people were concerned for the safety of the child and they contacted gardaí.
“She (the child’s mother, who was not present on the day) appears to me to be a very good mother. I accept there were no bruises or marks on the child. The evidence of the slapping amounts to assault. I convict him on both counts. I will deal with it by monetary fine. €350 on each count.”
Mr Burke, solicitor, asked for recognisances to be fixed in the event of an appeal and Judge Kelleher set them at his own bond of €400.
The 46-year-old’s identity and other identifying details are not published as it would lead to the identification of the victim in the case.