Child left to freeze during mother’s ‘act of desperation’, court hears

A mother who, during an “act of desperation”, left her four-month old child on the father’s doorstep during a dispute received the Probation Act this week. However, the father was fined for leaving that child to freeze for over an half an hour in a car on a cold February night.

The mother, Florence Ogbubor with an address at 67 The Rise, Knocknacarra, and the father, Tomasin Gbadamosi with an address at 29 Binn Sin, Western Distributor Road, appeared at Galway District Court yesterday where they pleaded guilty to abandoning a child in a manner likely to cause unneccessary suffering to the child’s health or seriously affect her wellbeing.

Inspector Sean Glynn told Judge Aeneus McCarthy that on February 2, 2008, at 9.10pm, gardai received a call to go to 29 Binn Sin and spoke to a male, known as defendant Gbadamosi. They then noticed a female infant lying in a car seat which was in a car at the house.

When questioned Gdadamosi said he was the father of the child and that the child had been left by her mother 40 minutes before gardai had arrived. Inspector Glynn said that the child was “cold to the touch” and the father said she had been in the car for about an half a hour and he had been aware that she was there. The court also heard that there was an “on-going dispute between himself and the mother” and the father “wanted to show exactly where she had left her”.

Inspector Glynn then said that the mother had turned up to the house to discuss maintenance arrangements with the father and left the child on the doorstep. After gardai arrived the four-month-old child, who had been two months premature and on medication at the time, was taken in by child welfare services but returned two days later.

Ogbubor’s solicitor Mr Billy Kilmartin told Judge McCarthy that this had been an isolated incident and that there is no concern for the welfare of the child. He said that a medical report handed into court shows “the type of symptoms she had been suffering at the time”. He asked the judge not to give a custodial sentence as Ogbubor was due to finish a course and it could affect her job prospects.

Defence solicitor for Gbadamosi, Mr Sean Acton, said that it was his client who had contacted gardai; the defendant had made two phone calls as he didn’t know “what to do” and “what obligation would be made of him if he did take the child in”. Mr Acton added that Gbadamosi realises it was “stupid” and is supporting the mother now.

“He should have taken the child in,” Judge McCarthy brusquely replied.

Regarding the case of the mother [Ogbubor], Judge McCarthy said that he had read the reports which are “very favourable”, that she regrets what she did, and that it was “an act of desperation”. He added that the HSE reported her to be a “very good mother and looking after her child very well” . He then applied the Probation Act Section 1(1 ).

In the case of the father [Gbadamosi], Judge McCarthy said that “he was not supporting the child” at the time, and “left her outside even though it was February and very cold”. He convicted and fined him €500 with one month to pay.

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