Suspended sentence for being cruel to children

A FATHER who punched his nine-year-old son multiple times after throwing him against a wall, and dragged his seven-year-old daughter along the floor leaving her with carpet burns, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

The 43-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his children, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court for sentencing after having previously been found guilty after contest of two counts of cruelty to a person under 16-years-old.

The charges related to incidents on April 7th 2019 and April 30th 2020.


The first case of cruelty involved his daughter, who he dragged along the floor of the upstairs of their home to her bedroom, leaving her with carpet burns on her back. Both the girl’s mother and older sister gave evidence to the court previously that the seven-year-old had been left “red raw” after the incident.

The second incident, the following year, happened when his wife was having trouble putting their son to bed. She called the defendant, who no longer lives with the family, to help.

He proceeded to throw the boy against a wall, and punched him multiple times. The nine-year-old was left with bruising.

Defence counsel for the man, who had no previous convictions, said he was a qualified professional who had attended Queen’s University and who had “provided well for his family.”

The barrister said at the prior to the offences he had been going through years family stress, including setting up a new business and setting up a new home, from the recession of 2008 “right up until the date of the incidents.” The barrister said “pressure had built up” and alcohol had been a factor in the offending.

With regard the incident with his son, the barrister said it had happened at the end of a long day, and said it had been the boy’s mother who had called the defendant in “to handle it” after she had been up with the boy three or four times. He said it had been a stressful situation and both parents had been “at the end of their tether.”

The barrister added the defendant had apologised to his daughter for leaving her with burn marks. He added that, aside from the incidents, “he was a good father in many ways” and was still providing for his family.


The barrister also asked the court to consider character references for the defendant that had been provided to the court.

District Judge Steven Keown said a lot of people experienced stress in their lives “but do not resort to this behaviour.”

Judge Keown said while the children were not left with lasting physical injuries, it was clear from their victim impact statements they had had a psychological impact on the children, and they were now receiving cognitive behavioural therapy.

Noting the seriousness of the case, Judge Keown said it had passed the custody threshold, and it was “with reluctance” he would suspend the sentence.

He sentenced the man to four months in prison, suspended for three years.

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