The 38-year-old father of four has told the state he must plead guilty to willful assault and battery against his three-year-old son in an incident last year.
At Kilrush District Court today, the man was remanded to the next sittings of Ennis District Court after a book of evidence was handed up in the case.
Counsel for the accused, Joseph Chambers, told Judge Mary Larkin: “Could you please note, going back to the judge, that my client has pleaded guilty and that has already been communicated to the state.”
Sergeant Aiden Lonergan told the court “this is the right judge”.
Judge Larkin said “that was noted”.
In this case, the man must plead guilty to willfully assaulting and abusing a child in his care in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or harm to the child on 17 August 2021, contrary to section 246 of the Children Act 2001.
The case will be transferred to the district court after Judge Larkin waived the district court’s jurisdiction in June.
After hearing the evidence against the accused, Judge Larkin said in June that the “defenceless” three-year-old boy had been the target of a “vicious attack” by his father.
Judge Larkin made her comments after viewing photographs of “extensive bruising” on the boy’s lower back and buttocks.
Judge Larkin said she had evidence of an “extraordinary and brutal attack” on the child.
At that hearing, Sergeant Louis Moloney told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had consented to the case being heard in the District Court only on the basis of a guilty plea.
However, after presenting the facts and examining photographs of the damage, Judge Larkin found the case “so serious that I decline jurisdiction.”
In the District Court, more severe penalties apply.
The maximum sentence for conviction of such an offense is 12 months in the District Court, rising to a maximum sentence of seven years in the District Court.
Mr Chambers previously said his client had reported the attack to the authorities before gardaí became involved. Mr Chambers said his client no longer had access to his four children and they were living with their mother. He said the boy is now four.
Outlining the facts in June, Constable Michal O’Gorman said the accused’s sister presented the three-year-old to a local GP “with extensive bruising to the lower back and buttocks” and the case was referred to the police. .
Garda O’Gorman said that on August 17, 2021, the accused was left with custody of his four children.
He said that the next day, while changing the baby’s diaper, the man’s sister noticed the bruises and confronted the defendant.
According to Garda O’Gorman, the defendant said he got frustrated and hit the boy three or four times with his open palm to stop him from crying.
Mr Chambers said his client was now in a better state mentally.
The following month the accused was remanded on the same bail to Ennis District Court.