A child neglect trial where a four-year-old boy and his one-and-a-half-year-old sister were described as being in a “horrific” condition, is to be given priority as very few trials proceed in the present scaled-down court operations.
The part-heard trial was adjourned at Cork District Court just before the severe national restrictions came into effect.
The case was adjourned by Judge Con O’Leary as not all witnesses were available on the last occasion.
The case was mentioned by Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court today. He said his colleague, Judge O’Leary, who has not been sitting in the past fortnight, indicated that he would sit for the concluding evidence in this particular case.
Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor, said the woman who denied the charge of cruelty to her own children could not be contacted to be told to come to court. She is one of the witnesses who has yet to give evidence. Another is a taxi driver who witnessed some of the disputed events. Similarly, a social worker is to be called to give evidence.
Mr Kelleher said he would make every effort to locate his client and inform her to attend court. Judge Kelleher said he would put the case in the list for next Tuesday for the purpose of setting an early date for the conclusion of the trial.
The 33-year-old mother of the two children is accused of wilfully ill-treating, neglecting, abandoning or exposing the children to unnecessary suffering after 8pm on August 10, 2017. She denied the charge at Cork District Court.
The mother in this case is not identified in media coverage as this would identify the children whose identity is protected.
Mr Kelleher, solicitor, said there would be evidence that the accused was not intoxicated but was ill at the time of the disputed incident on August 10 2017.
Three gardaí and an ambulance paramedic testified about the condition of the children when they encountered them in the taxi.
‘Sad, lonely and upset’
Garda Alan Hurson said: “The condition of the children was the worst I have seen since joining the organisation. They had to be changed out of their clothes. The nappy of the child was so bad it came over the side walls of the nappy.
“Both children were dirty, not just from that day but (appeared) they had been in their clothes for a couple of days.
Mr Kelleher, solicitor, said the children’s mother would say that they had been in nursery and in school earlier that day.
Garda Eric Brannigan said of the mother: “She appeared to be very incoherent, she was frothing or foaming at the mouth.”
Garda Mary Jane Somers went to the defendant’s house that night and said of the accused: “She appeared to be out of it. Her eyes were rolling in her head. Her house was in poor condition.”
She said there was old food and dog food around the floor and very little fresh food. “I asked her where the children were and she said, ‘With the taxi driver’,” Garda Somers testified.
Paramedic, John Murray, said the children were unkempt, scared, hungry and “looked sad, lonely and upset”.