A woman was found not guilty of assaulting a former neighbour’s child following a case at Ballyhaunis District Court sitting in Castlebar this week. The woman was alleged to have grabbed the child by the neck, twisted his ear, and slapped him on his bottom in the incident. The case saw the child give evidence through a video link to the court, and the court was also shown a DVD of an interview carried out with the child shortly after the incident by trained Garda personnel.
The court was told that on the day of the incident there had been an earlier incident between the woman’s daughter and the child in question, where the woman’s daughter had been slapped across the face by the alleged victim and she had brought the child over to his home and spoken to his father who apologised for the incident, and got the child to apologise.
Later the same day, the woman’s daughter came running into her house with a cut knee, and the woman was told by two girls playing that her daughter had been pushed by the child who made the allegation. The court was told it was alleged by the child that the woman came out of her house and asked him what he did to her daughter and that she then grabbed the child by the ear and twisted it, grabbed him by the neck of his top and then slapped him on his bottom. The child then ran home to his parents and told them of the incident. The child’s older brother who was in the area at the time also told the court that this was what happened.
However in her evidence the accused woman said that all she did was talk to the child and she touched him on the ear, pointing out that he had an earring and that he was a big man and should be acting like one. She said that she put her arm around the child and turned him towards his home and said they had to go over and tell his parents what had happened. The child initially did not want to go home, but then ran off and when she got to the child’s house a short time later she was confronted by the child’s parents.
Both of the child’s parents gave evidence and admitted that neither of them saw the alleged incident, but that they were concerned for their child when he came running in the door of their house in a distressed state. They called the Gardai who spoke to all parties on the night in question and later took statements in relation to the incident from some of those who gave evidence in court. Judge Mary Devins found that the prosecution had not proved its case and found the defendant not guilty.