Judge strikes out assault case against father after hearing girl ‘made up’ allegation
• 4h ago
A district court judge has struck out a case against a father accused of assaulting his 10-year-old daughter after hearing the girl “made up” the allegation .
Judge John Brennan, sitting in Blanchardstown District Court last week, was told by the man’s defence barrister that his client was granted full custody of the girl eight months ago.
The girl attended the court briefly before she was asked to leave by the judge and stay with a garda during the private hearing.
The father’s barrister said the girl was the State’s main witness but she was only present because she was brought to the court by her father, the accused. He said his client has a voicemail from his daughter that confirmed she had “made up the incident” and did not wish to pursue the charge.
She has had no meaningful contact with her mother since last July.
The judge was told the father was charged with assault for allegedly grabbing and shaking his daughter and then a later incident of allegedly pulling a duvet over her head in an attempt to smother her.
The prosecuting garda said the case should have been assigned to the Criminal Courts of Justice complex as Blanchardstown did not have the facilities for taking the evidence of a minor through video-link.
She said the case must have “slipped though the cracks” and that the girl had been interviewed by specialist gardaí when she detailed the alleged assault.
The defence barrister said the girl had made a number of remarks in her garda interview about not wishing to continue with her statement.
Judge Brennan asked if Tusla was involved. The defence barrister said the child welfare agency had “no issue” with his client’s custody of his daughter for the last eight months. He asked for the case to be struck out and that the girl’s education not be disrupted by requiring more time off school to attend court.
Judge Brennan said it was a “particularly sensitive matter”. He declined an offer to speak directly to the girl and said that should only be done through specialised interviewers to reduce a child’s trauma.
He declined a garda request to grant the prosecution liberty to re-enter the case.