A 73-year-old woman was charged with assault causing harm to an 18-month old girl at a crèche in Co Cork.
Detective Sergeant Anne Marie Guiney of the Protective Services Unit arrested the pensioner on January 20 with a count of assaulting the infant causing her harm on September 9, 2019. She made no reply when arrested, charged, and cautioned.
The pensioner was working at the crèche at the time but is not working there any longer, defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said. Mr Buttimer, who was granted free legal aid to represent the accused, said the 73-year-old would be pleading not guilty to the charge.
Det Sgt Guiney said the alleged incident at the crèche was reported to gardaí by another member of staff who said she saw the 18-month-old being assaulted.
It was alleged that the injured party had been involved in a biting incident with another infant.
It was alleged the 73-year-old woman caught the child by both cheeks and squeezed her face while screaming at the child and shaking her head.
There was allegedly a second part to the incident where the defendant caught the infant by back of the head, shaking her and screaming at her causing the child to lose balance, fall and hit her head off the floor.
Det Sgt Guiney referred to the child being caught by the hair also.
Finally, it was claimed that the defendant put the child’s hand to the child’s own mouth and tried to get her to bite her own hand and using the child’s hand to hit her own face.
After hearing the allegations, Judge Olann Kelleher said he would accept jurisdiction to deal with the case at Cork District Court.
Mr Buttimer said it would require a hearing date as there would be a plea of not guilty to the charge.
Judge Kelleher adjourned the case to Court 3 at Cork District Court on September 8 when it is anticipated that it will be further adjourned to a date for hearing.
A medical report on the child referred to bruising to the child’s right forearm, to the cheeks of her face and to her buttocks.
Mr Buttimer said the defendant was not present in court due to health reasons. The case was adjourned in her absence.
Judge Kelleher said that the 73-year-old would not be exempt from attending court on the next occasion when a date will be fixed for the hearing of the case. Mr Buttimer suggested that it could take some time to hear the case.
The defendant in this case is not named as it could lead to identification of the infant who cannot be identified under provisions of The Children’s Act.