Gardaí have taken 60 statements and sought CCTV from 30 different premises in Ennis as part of an investigation into an alleged assault on a three-and-a-half-month-old baby girl.
That is according to Sgt Aiden Lonergan who on Wednesday at Ennis District Court asked Judge Patrick Durcan for additional time for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to issue directions in the case.
In the case, a 28-year-old Ennis man is charged with wilfully assaulting, ill-treating and neglecting his three-and-a-half-month-old daughter in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering and injury to the baby’s health and seriously affect her well being.
The man - on remand in custody since April - is accused of the offence at several locations across Ennis over a four hour period from shortly after 10pm on Friday, April 10 to shortly after 2am, Saturday, April 11.
The alleged assault, ill-treatment and neglect of the baby is alleged to have occurred at six locations across Ennis: Station Rd, O’Connell Street, Carmody Street, Mill Rd, Wood Quay and The Market.
Members of the Garda Armed Response Unit along with trained negotiators were called in to defuse the situation and the man was arrested and the baby was returned into the arms of her mother shortly after 2am on the Saturday morning.
The child assault/ill-treatment charge is contrary to Section 246 of the Children’s Act 2001 and if the case goes before the circuit court, a judge can impose a prison term up to seven years in jail if the man is convicted of the offence.
The man is also charged with the assault causing harm of his partner and the child’s mother on Friday, April 10 at an address in Ennis prior to the alleged assault of the baby.
Sgt Lonergan told the court today that the charges against the man “are significant matters which require a thorough investigation”.
He stated that 30 premises have been canvassed for CCTV and 20 of the recordings had to be downloaded and used.
Over 60 statements have been taken in relation to the matter and a number of medical reports sought so that had to be all done and collated and put together before forwarding it to the DPP.
Sgt Lonergan stated that the file “is with the DPP but I would say that they would need time to consider that amount of information in what is a serious charge”.
Sgt Lonergan stated: “I would ask the court the additional time to allow that volume of work be carefully gone through in order to have directions provided."
Solicitor for the accused, Daragh Hassett stated that the information provided by Sgt Lonergan “has provided clarity” in relation to the request for the additional time required by the DPP to provide directions.
Judge Patrick Durcan stated: “The charges are extremely serious and it seems to be in the interests of justice that the director should have time to consider these matters carefully."
Judge Durcan further remanded the accused man - who can’t be named for legal reasons - in custody to re-appear before court on July 22 next.