Lochside Garage

Mother gets jail for slapping her son, aged 7


AN ENNISKILLEN mother who was advised by a social worker to deal with her children’s squabbling reacted by slapping her seven-year-old son across the face.
The woman’s name cannot be published in order to protect the identity of her children. The children were in care before the incident on June 7 last year. She was reported to police for the assault and at Omagh Magistrates Court was sentenced to three months in jail. The court was told she has previously received a number of suspended jail terms.
The incident happened when she was travelling in car with two social workers during a supervised visit with her children. The children began fighting and when advised to “deal” with the situation she turned and slapped her son on the side of the face with the flat of her hand. The car was stopped and she was told, “no slapping” to which she responded, “He’s just like his father.”
The mother told the boy to say it was an accident. She claimed she was attempting to fix the back of the seat and her “hand slipped.” Social workers also noted that she did not apologise to the child although she claimed that she did.
Defence barrister Joe McCann said the facts were “somewhat unusual” and that the situation “got out of control very quickly.” He added that the social worker suggested his client deal with the situation but was “aghast” at her response.
He added, “She clearly did not mean her to intervene in that way. These children are in care and given the facts it is no mystery as to why. Their current status is unlikely to change soon given the facts of this case.” Mr McCann also said that the defendant had a “childlike mentality” and a learning disability to which District Judge Bernie Kelly responded, “She muddies the water with the use of alcohol and drugs.”
She described the behaviour of the mother as “outrageous.”
Addressing the woman, the judge said, “This was reacting wrongly to a direction from a social worker which you completely misunderstood whether deliberately or not. The court’s function is to protect the most vulnerable in society which is the young, the elderly and disabled.”


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