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Sunday 17 December 2017

Father who punched girl (8) in face 'like a boxer' awaits fate as sentencing put back

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

A father who was described as being like a boxer when he lashed out and punched his eight-year-old daughter in the face has had his sentencing adjourned.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identify, denied a charge of assault causing harm at their home in Dublin in 2013.

He was convicted after a trial before Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court in July.

The case had been adjourned for a probation report to be prepared.

The man, who is in his forties, was ordered to appear again in mid-October for sentencing.

The trial heard that the girl and an older brother moved in with their father and his partner a few years before the assault.

Bleeding

However, the girl was closer to his partner, whom she began to look on as her mother, while she did not bond much with or talk to her father.

Giving evidence via video link, the girl, now aged 12, said that on the day of the attack her brother had been looking after her while her stepmother and father had been at work.

The girl said she went to her friend's house nearby and her brother came to collect her.

Her stepmother, who had come home and was cooking dinner, was upset she was out so late.

The girl told the court she went out again but didn't ask for permission.

It was about 8pm or 9pm then and she recalled her brother collecting her a second time.

Her father was called and came home.

They were standing in a hallway and her stepmother was telling her how she was very disappointed in her.

The girl said her father then punched her in the nose and she was bleeding a lot.

She remembered hitting her head against a door and her father stormed out.

The girl said that her stepmother then took her upstairs and looked after her.

"I was crying a lot. I'd got a huge fright, banged my head off the door. I couldn't walk up the stairs properly," she said.

Her brother, who is in his late teens, told the trial: "Out of nowhere, I saw him go full fisted and hit her in the face."

Later he and his sister moved in with their stepmother when she broke up with their father.

The stepmother told the trial that her ex-partner began snorting and exhaling and suddenly punched or slapped the child.

She said the girl had a bleeding nostril and she hugged her before taking her upstairs.

"I was horrified, nothing was the same after," the woman said.

In cross-examination, she said: "It felt like it was in a boxing ring. He positioned himself and bang, and he looked like he was in danger, like he was in a fight."

The father had no prior criminal convictions and no longer had access to the children but it was hoped they could build a relationship, the court was told.

Judge Halpin said he was moved by the girl's evidence in what was a very sad case.

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