DPP to look for victim impact statement in child slapping case, defence lawyer claims 'there won’t be one'

DPP to look for victim impact statement in child slapping case, defence lawyer claims 'there won’t be one'

The Director of Public Prosecutions is to look for a victim impact statement from the little girl slapped by her father at a supermarket despite indications there would be no such statement.

The DPP has also decided to drop the charge against the man for allegedly intimidating a witness in the same case.

Sergeant Ann Marie Twomey said the DPP was withdrawing the intimidation charge.

The alleged intimidation occurred outside Cork District Court on Anglesea Street during a previous court appearance in relation to the same case on October 25, 2018.

When Sgt Twomey asked for the case to be adjourned for a victim impact statement, defence solicitor, Eddie Burke, said he could tell the court there would be no statement from the four-and-a-half-year-old.

Sgt Twomey said that the DPP indicated that a statement could be prepared instead by a parent or guardian of the accused.

In the course of the trial of this case where the child’s father was the defendant, his wife was called as a defence witness and she spoke up for her husband.

Judge Olann Kelleher said of the prospect of a victim impact statement, “I would be surprised if there is one.”

Mr Burke said: “I wonder how the state is going to approach this one… I can tell the state now, there won’t be one. This is going back nearly two years and there has been no issue since.”

The judge adjourned the matter for one week. Judge Kelleher previously found the facts of the assault proved against the father.

In the original trial, two mothers spoke of contacting gardaí because they were so shocked to see a man allegedly slapping his daughter at a supermarket.

One of them heard him say, “Have you enough now?” as he raised his hand a number of times and reached into where she was sitting in the car seat.

A second witness said there had been an earlier incident in the supermarket.

Judge Olann Kelleher asked: “Did you see him assault the child?” The witness replied: “I did, I saw him force her legs (in a shopping trolley). The child was very distressed. Her pitch went higher and she did not want to be there.”

The defendant testified: “I am never aggressive with my kid. If I want my kid to do something I tell her. (And if she won’t do it) I say now you are not getting a toy but I don’t hit her.”

He said that if he showed violence she might use violence to get what she wanted and he would not give her that example.

The defendant’s wife cried during the trial and said the whole experience had been terribly upsetting for the family. She was not present in the supermarket on the day and said she did not think the two witnesses were racially motivated but felt they might be prejudiced against her husband seeing him as a foreigner.

She described their daughter, who was almost three at the time, as fantastic and lovely.

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