A 20-month old girl was kicked in the back and picked up off the ground by her hair by her mother who was drinking a bottle of wine in a suburban park in Cork city.
These were the allegations in a case that came before Cork District Court today where it was claimed that members of the public became so concerned that they took the child from her mother until the gardaí arrived at the scene.
Garda Niall Comerford arrested the 40-year-old woman by appointment this morning for the purpose of charging her and he brought her before Cork District Court.
The main charge is one of child neglect or cruelty where it states that, “being a person having care of a child she did assault the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child’s health or seriously to affect her wellbeing.”
This charge can be dealt with at district or circuit court level.
The second charge is one of being drunk in charge of a child under the age of seven, a charge that can only be dealt with at district court level.
Sergeant Pat Lyons said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that both charges could be dealt with summarily at Cork District Court. It was then a matter for Judge Olann Kelleher to hear an outline of the alleged facts in the case to decide if he would accept jurisdiction for the cruelty charge.
Garda Comerford said it was alleged that the defendant went to a suburban supermarket where she purchased a bottle of wine at 6 p.m. on July 18. She then went to the local park and consumed the bottle of wine.
“A number of independent witnesses became concerned for the 20-month-old child. Witnesses observed her being kicked in the lower back on a number of occasions. It is alleged she picked the child up off the ground by the hair.
“The child was in a visibly distressed state and members of the public took the child from her.
“Gardaí arrived and the mother was found sitting on a park bench,” Sgt. Lyons said.
Judge Kelleher accepted jurisdiction.
Frank Buttimer solicitor applied for a precis of the case from the prosecution and any reports on the welfare of the child that might be available.
“I anticipate a certain course here and I would ask for a rather brief adjournment. I understand there is no objection to bail. She is here by arrangement. I believe the child is in very good order and in very good shape at this point,” Mr Buttimer said.
The case was adjourned until January 29.
The child cannot be identified under provisions of the Children’s Act so in effect none of the parties can be identified.