By Gordon Deegan
A 19-year old Latvian child-minder has appeared in court charged with wilfully assaulting, ill-treating and neglecting her one-year-old baby niece.
The teenager made her initial appearance at Ennis District Court court last July where she was first charged with assault in connection with allegedly breaking the arm of the baby.
At that court date, the accused was accompanied to court by the baby’s mother who is also the accused’s sister and the woman was in court again on Wednesday to sit with the accused to face the fresh charge.
At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, the teen faced a second charge where she is charged with wilfully assaulting, neglecting, ill-treating, abandoning and exposing the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child’s health at an address in Ennis on May 21 of this year.
Det Garda Claire O’Shaughnessy said that the accused made no reply concerning the new charge.
Already, after hearing evidence of the circumstances around the assault charge, Judge Patrick Durcan last July declined jurisdiction and transferred the case to Ennis Circuit Court where more serious penalties apply for assault causing harm charges.
Judge Durcan said that the alleged injury that the baby sustained was "very serious”.
In declining jurisdiction, Judge Durcan also stated that he was taking into account the age of the alleged injured party.
Det O’Shaughnessy told the court that the baby turned one a day after she was admitted to hospital on May 24 last.
Det O’Shaughnessy said: “The baby was admitted to hospital with a spiral fracture to her upper right arm.”
In the case, the teen is charged with on May 21 the Section 3 assault causing harm of the baby who was born in May 2017.
Det O’Shaughnessy said: “it was an unexplained injury and it was referred to us by TUSLA due to the unexplained nature of it. The child was not walking at the time.”
Insp Tom Kennedy said that the accused is the maternal aunt of the baby.
He said that the accused was at the time in paid employment from her sister and partner to look after the baby and two of the baby’s siblings for a number of months.
The Book of Evidence was served on the accused on Wednesday and her solicitor, John Casey applied for the legal aid certificate to be extended to cover the costs of translating the Book of Evidence into Latvian.
Mr Casey said that his client has no English.
In reply, Judge Durcan said: “What is the cost of that? I believe that it is huge per page.”
Judge Durcan extended the legal aid certificate and the woman was sent forward to appear at the next sittings of Ennis Circuit Court.