herald

Sunday 18 August 2019

Dad cleared of telling his girls 'mummy was fattest'

A FATHER-of-two who allegedly told his young daughters that their mother was the "fattest mummy" at swimming lessons has been cleared of a charge of breaching a safety order.

The south Dublin man was accused of drunkenly making the remarks on an evening when his behaviour left the girls, aged five and eight, "shaking with fear".

His wife alleged he repeatedly told his daughters that she was calling the gardai to get him locked up and that she was trying to get them "a new daddy".

Dublin District Court heard the children were left in tears after he made the alleged comments while telling them a bedtime story.

Judge Patricia McNamara dismissed the case against the accused, after his solicitor argued that the evidence at its height did not amount to a criminal offence.

The judge said she was dismissing it in the interests of justice.

The man, who cannot be named, had denied a charge of breaching a safety order at his home on May 19 last. His solicitor argued that it was the gardai the girls were afraid of and said the prosecuting officer brought them Easter eggs as presents to calm them.

His wife told the court the accused came home drunk on the evening in question and referred to her calling the gardai 15 times in the course of half an hour.



Jail

He asked his daughters to name their friends who went to swimming one by one and said his wife was "the fattest mummy taking children to swimming", she alleged.

While reading a story to them, he told them his wife was going to call the gardai.

"He said, I am not going to be here to read the next chapter tomorrow night because I will be in jail," she alleged.

She said he also told them of a holiday they were going to take in Canada that they were not allowed go, and that it was a "horrible place".

The children began crying and told her their father was scaring them, she alleged. She eventually did call the gardai because she felt she had no choice, and the accused said he was packing his bags.

She said she locked the bedroom door and waited for the gardai and alleged the accused said: "I'll get you for this."

Cross-examining the woman, the accused's solicitor said he had only had two pints on his way home, having been delayed as the quays were blocked due to Queen Elizabeth's visit.

The prosecuting garda said the woman and her children were all shaking and in a "state of fear". She denied that the children had been afraid of her when they saw her uniform and told the court the five-year-old said, "Daddy made me cry".

aphelan@herald.ie

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