A MAN who pleaded guilty to the common assault of a child in McDonald’s in Enniskillen has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Stephen Morton (30) of Cleenish Park in Enniskillen appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to common assault.
On April 16th social services, who referred the matter to police, were contacted by a member of the public to say they’d seen a man assaulting a child in McDonald’s in Enniskillen.
The man was identified as Morton. CCTV from the restaurant showed him using the inside of his hand to push the child’s head to one side. He was then seen lifting the two-year-old from its seat in an aggressive manner.
Morton admitted to being the person on the CCTV footage in his interview with police.
The defendant had pleaded guilty to several charges at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Wednesday, namely failing to produce driving documents and disorderly behaviour. Defence barrister Ciaran Roddy said this incident was “clearly the most serious matter.”
Mr Roddy said Morton was sorry for what had happened. He said on the day in question Morton had become frustrated with the child’s behaviour and had been looking after five children at the time. The barrister said what had happened had been borne out of “frustration and ignorance” rather than anything more sinister.
District Judge Bonita Boyd said the court had heard of “a catalogue of offences” from Morton, but this was the “most serious of them all.” She pointed out a pre-sentence report had deemed him as medium risk of reoffending, and said the fact the common assault had been on a child of two was an aggravating factor.
Judge Boyd sentenced Morton to four months in prison, suspended for two years.