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Monday, January 30, 2023

Mother gets suspended sentence for child cruelty

A woman who pushed her son’s face against a bath with such force that his nose started bleeding has been given a suspended sentence.

The woman, who is in her 40s but cannot be identified for legal reasons, had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of child cruelty between 2013 and 2015.

The judge said “cruelty to children in any shape or form cannot be tolerated”.

The offences came to light during a home visit by Social Services, Craigavon Crown Court heard.

‘Kicked and punched’

The defendant’s daughter said her mother “kicked and punched her and her brother”, said the prosecuting counsel.

The children, who were all under 10 years of age at the time of the offences, disclosed how their mother had used a shoe and a rubber spatula to smack them on their hands and bare backsides.

The eldest child also told investigators that when her mother pushed her brother’s face against the bath and his nose bled, she ordered him to clean it up and “smacked him across the back of the head and said stupid boy”.

The children were also forced to stand facing the corner as another method of discipline, the court heard.

She had denied the offences during interviews.

The defence counsel said that for his client “this type of chastisement was a daily feature of her life growing up” and so “she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong by continuing that”.

“She now realises it contravenes the laws of this land,” he said.

Restraining order

Judge Patrick Lynch KC said he suspected that even in the defendant’s native country “some of your actions would not be allowed, such as causing a bleeding injury… there are norms in society in Northern Ireland that you are obliged to follow”.

Imposing an eight-month sentence but suspending it for three years, the judge said he was taking account of the fact the woman had already spent three months on remand and had admitted her guilt.

The judge also imposed a three-year restraining order against the woman.

“It’s clear that your actions are unconscionable and clearly criminal,” he said.

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