Six people in court over alleged assaults at HSE-run Áras Attracta

Six people appeared in court yesterday for allegedly assaulting patients who are intellectually disabled at the HSE-run Áras Attracta centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.

Six people in court over alleged assaults at HSE-run Áras Attracta

The cases against all six, five women and a man, were put back until July 14 for mention by Judge Mary Devins at a sitting of Ballina District Court.

The cases against the defendants were put back to allow for disclosure of TV footage and various documents and papers that the State is seeking to rely on.

The six accused, Joan Gill (62), Dublin Road, Swinford; Patrick McLoughlin (56), Lalibella, Mayfield, Claremorris; Christina Delaney (35), Seefin, Lissatava, Hollymount ; Kathleen King (56), Knockshanbally. Straide, Foxford; Joan Walsh (42), Carrowilkeen, Curry, Co Sligo and Anna Ywunsong Botsimbo (34), Lowpark Avenue, Charlestown, were all present for the brief court hearing.

An intensive Garda investigation into allegations of assault was mounted following a Primetime TV investigation late last year.

Footage, which was secretly filmed by an undercover reporter, showed residents at the centre being forced fed, physically restrained, shouted at and slapped.

The assaults allegedly occurred in November at what is known as ‘Bungalow 3’ in the Áras Attracta complex.

Ms Gill faces five assault charges, the others one each.

Judge Devins put back all the cases to July 14 for mention to allow disclosure be provided.

A date for a full hearing will be decided thereafter, Solicitors for five of the accused requested that an application for free legal aid be deferred until a later date.

On the instructions of the DPP charges against all six defendants have been brought under Section 2 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

The penalties for conviction are a fine of €1,905 or six months in prison.

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