A woman who was prosecuted for child cruelty after her five-year-old nephew told a teacher she had beaten him with a belt, was placed on six months’ probation at Dundalk district court last week.
The court heard last December how the child and his sister were subsequently taken into HSE care.
The original hearing was told the defendant had been caring for the children – a five-year-old boy and his seven-year-old sister and the gardai became involved on the first of October 2010, after the boy told his class teacher that he had been beaten with a belt with a buckle on it the day before.
Both children were taken into care.
The court heard the children’s mother was in Nigeria at the time and the defence solicitor said his client had been burdened with the responsibility of looking after her nephew and niece.
The solicitor said the boy had only recently been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the accused had no understanding of ADHD and had been ‘driven demented’ by the boy’s increasingly deteriorating behaviour.
The case was adjourned until March so a probation report could be prepared but it was put back until last Wednesday so Judge Flann Brennan – who had heard the case originally, could finalise the matter.
The defence solicitor told the court that since it was produced “some of the gaps in the report” had been filled in – in relation to his client’s address and clarifying her source of income. He added she no longer sees the children as a result of the intervention of social services.