The judge said that she has evidence “of an extraordinary and vicious assault” on the child
At Kilrush District Court today, the 38-year-old was sent forward for trial to the next sittings of Ennis Circuit Court after the Book of Evidence was served.
Solicitor Joseph Chambers, for the accused, told Judge Mary Larkin: “Can you note on the return to trial judge that my client has indicated a plea of guilty and this has been notified to the State already."
Judge Larkin said it had been noted.
In the case, the man is to plead guilty to wilfully assaulting and ill-treating a child in his care in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child’s health on August 17 last year.
The case is going forward to the circuit court after Judge Larkin declined district court jurisdiction in the case in June.
After hearing an outline of the evidence against the accused, Judge Larkin said in June that that “a defenceless” three-year-old boy was the subject of a “vicious assault” by his father.
Judge Larkin made her comment after viewing photographs of “the extensive bruising” of the boy’s lower back and buttocks.
The judge said that she has evidence “of an extraordinary and vicious assault” on the child.
At that hearing, Sgt Louis Moloney told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had consented to the summary disposal of the case in the district court on a guilty plea only.
However, after an outline of the facts and examining photos of the injuries, Judge Larkin deemed the case “so serious that I am refusing jurisdiction”.
The maximum penalty on conviction of such an offence is 12 months in the district court and this rises to a maximum penalty of seven years in the circuit court.
Mr Chambers previously stated that his client informed the authorities of the assault before gardaí got involved. Mr Chambers said his client no longer has access to his four children and they reside with their mother. He said the boy is now four years old.
Giving an outline of the facts in June, Garda Mícheál O’Gorman said that a sister of the accused presented the then three-year-old to a local GP “with extensive bruising to lower back and buttocks” and the matter was referred to gardaí.
Gda O’Gorman said that the accused was left in charge of his four children on August 17 last year.
The garda said that when changing the child’s nappy the following day, the man’s sister noticed the bruising and she confronted the defendant.
According to Gda O’Gorman, the defendant said that he had become frustrated and to stop the boy from crying had smacked him three or four times with his open palm.
Mr Chambers said that his client is in a better place mentally now.
The accused was sent forward on the same bail terms to Ennis Circuit Court next month.