herald

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Toddler-slapping father faces charge of witness interference

Dunnes Stores, Bishopstown
Dunnes Stores, Bishopstown

A father was charged with assault by gardai after a woman became convinced he was slapping his toddler.

The 46-year-old - who cannot be named for legal reasons - also faces a charge of attempting to interfere with a witness.

He has been co-operating fully with Probation and Welfare Service officials and is due to be sentenced on the slapping charge.

Judge Olann Kelleher decided that, while he found the facts proven against the man, he wanted to consider alternatives to recording a conviction.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated that the witness interference charge can be dealt with at the district court.

Cork District Court was told by a female witness she was near the Dunnes Stores outlet at the Bishopstown Court Shopping Centre, in Cork on July 23, 2017.

Screaming

Her attention was drawn to the high-pitched sound of a child crying. She saw a man struggling with a child by a shopping trolley.

He was trying to get the child's legs into the shopping trolley seat.

The woman noticed that the child was still crying and screaming as the man proceeded to do some shopping in the centre.

Later, she came across the pair back in the car park, where she said she saw the man standing by the rear of his car and swinging his hands into the back of the car.

The woman said she heard the child crying and noted that her voice was getting higher and louder in apparent distress.

A second woman at the complex said she also saw the man swinging his hands into the rear of the car and heard a child crying. She said she was convinced the man had been slapping the child in the rear of the car.

Both women were upset about the incident. Neither actually witnessed the child being struck, but were convinced about what was happening.

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