herald

Friday 22 June 2018

Boy can be quizzed on 'abuse' as judge overrules mother

Judge Patrick Durcan used Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991, granting gardai permission to interview the schoolboy. (stock photo)
Judge Patrick Durcan used Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991, granting gardai permission to interview the schoolboy. (stock photo)

A judge has invoked special powers to give gardai the go-ahead to interview an 11-year-old boy over allegations that his mother hit him with a cricket bat.

The mother has to date refused gardai permission to interview her son over his allegations against her of physical abuse, but the order by Judge Patrick Durcan now overrides her refusal.

At the family law court in Ennis, Judge Durcan used Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991, granting gardai permission to interview the schoolboy.

In April, the boy was brought into care following an emergency care order application by Tusla after he told social workers of the alleged physical abuse he was suffering at the hands of his mother.

The boy alleged to a Tusla social worker that his mother hit him on the head and body with a cricket bat when he did not tidy up his bedroom.

The Tusla social worker told the court that when asked about the alleged assault, the mother denied hitting him, saying that her son was lying.

Kevin Sherry, solicitor for Tusla, said that the purpose of the Section 47 application was to enable gardai to interview the boy concerning the physical abuse allegations he had made against his mother.

Refused

"The mother has thus far refused to give consent to the boy to be interviewed by the gardai," Mr Sherry said.

He said that Section 47 empowers the court to make orders concerning any aspect relating to the care of a child.

"The section is very wide-ranging," Mr Sherry said.

"We are attempting to assist gardai to enable them to interview the boy because my clients feel that it is in the child's best interests that this matter is investigated by gardai."

Mr Sherry pointed out that "the boy has made a number of allegations concerning physical, verbal and emotional abuse while in his mother's care".

The solicitor said that the application will dispense with the mother's consent.

A garda told the court in evidence that the boy made the disclosures concerning the alleged physical, verbal and emotional abuse to social workers, and the social workers passed on the information to gardai.

The garda said that she has not yet spoken to the boy due to the mother's decision not to give consent.

Judge Durcan said that he would grant the application to enable the boy be interviewed by gardai without the consent of either parent.

The boy's father - who does not live with the mother but pays maintenance for his son - was present in court. The boy's mother did not attend and was not legally represented.

The boy remains in care and Judge Durcan extended the interim care order for the boy to June 6.

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