'neck bruise' | 

Gran of infant who was assaulted by ‘coward’ father ‘appalled’ at four-month sentence

The 26-year-old Dublin man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of his child, pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting the boy

Criminal Courts of Justice

Alan SherrySunday World

THE grandmother of a young boy who was assaulted by his “bully and coward” father when he was just an infant says she is appalled he got just four months in jail for the attack.

The 26-year-old Dublin man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of his child, pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting the boy, who was less than a year old at the time, at a homeless hostel in Dublin on January 2, 2017.

He received a four-month sentence at Dublin Circuit Court in May for the attack.

The boy’s maternal grandmother, who is now his legal guardian, criticised the sentence handed down and said she only found out about the case from reading a court report on the Sunday World website.

“I am appalled at the sentence that man got and I want answers as to why I was never informed [the case was going ahead].

“I was never informed about that court case. Then I read the article and clicked straight away what it was about,” she said.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the man and his partner, who is the child’s mother, were in homeless accommodation when the man brought heroin back to their room on the day in question.

The pair started arguing about the drugs, before the baby started “screaming crying”, the man later told gardai. He said he flew into a rage and picked up the baby’s bottle and threw it at the mother, who was holding the crying baby.

The man said the lid came off the bottle and hit the baby on the forehead, while the bottle hit his partner. The man then “broke up the room” and left, the court heard.

Social workers alerted gardai shortly afterwards, with gardai noticing a bruise to the baby’s forehead. The child was not seriously injured, the court heard.

The boy’s grandmother told the Sunday World she visited the child in hospital and he had other marks, including a mark on his neck which was not explained.

“When I got to the hospital, I took pictures. There was a fingerprint on his neck. I’d like to know the answers to what happened. There was a bruise on the side of his head, a bruise on his face and a bruise on his neck. It was like a fingerprint there,” she said.

She said she believes the incident also left psychological scars on the boy and she should have been afforded an opportunity to give a victim impact statement in court.

She said gardai told her they were unaware that she was the legal guardian ahead of the court case.

“I’m fuming. There is more to the story than what was put in the papers. I’m writing into the DPP myself asking where the other bruises came from and why it was said in court it was only his head,” she said.

The grandmother has been the legal guardian of all three of her daughter’s children for the last five years.

The man is related to a woman who is currently facing trial in another jurisdiction over the death of a baby.

He has a violent reputation and has almost 70 convictions for offences including assault, burglary, theft and threat to kill.

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