A father facing the possibility of an assault conviction for slapping his daughter in a heated access row with his ex-wife where he felt that the child was being turned against him has described himself as a good man who loves his daughter.
Judge Olann Kelleher previously found the facts proved against the 45-year-old dad, but said he was anxious to avoid giving him an assault conviction.
However, the judge said that in the eight months since the case was heard at Cork District Court, the defendant had not done anything except abuse in writing the family counselling service that was there to help people.
Yesterday, the father said he did have strong opinions and he was passionate about the matters, but that he had taken steps. Defence solicitor Eddie Burke said the accused had gone about doing a parenting course through Barnardos.
“I am a born-again Christian. My child has been turned against me and I love her,” he said.
Judge Olann Kelleher said: “I am concerned that if this man does not get his way he will be violent to someone else.”
Insp Bill Duane reminded the judge of the background to the incident, where his then 11-year-old daughter was staying with her dad a couple of days before Christmas 2011. He wanted her to stay for more time over the Christmas and she wanted to stay with her mother.
“He hit her on the back of the thighs with his open hand. He shouted at her. She was scared. She contacted her mother on her phone. He said to hand over the phone to him. He told her to go up to her bedroom. She was returned by the father to the mother’s the following day,” the inspector said.
The defendant’s current partner was present at the time and she contacted the defendant’s sister to come over to the house to calm him down.
The partner was in court yesterday and told Judge Kelleher the defendant talked about his daughter all the time and she said it was tearing the family apart. She and the defendant have other children.
Judge Kelleher suggested the defendant should go back to the family courts to seek access.
The defendant replied: “What is the point going to court for a child who has been turned against us?”
The judge adjourned the matter for a probation report and repeated that he was anxious to leave the accused without a conviction, but that he would have to co-operate with the probation service.
The parties in the case are not identified for legal reasons.
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