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Father to plead guilty to endangering life of baby daughter when he held her upside down over river

The incident happened in Ennis in Co Clare in April.

File photo
File photo
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A 28-YEAR-OLD father is to plead guilty to endangering the life of his three-and-a-half-month-old baby girl when he held her upside down by one leg over a river.

At Ennis Circuit Court today Daragh Hassett, solicitor for the accused, told Judge Brian O’Callaghan: “There will be a plea offered and I can formally tell you that a jury won’t be required for the case.”

The accused man has remained in custody since the alleged offences took place on 10 and 11 April 2020, after he was refused bail in the District Court and the High Court.

In the case the man, who appeared via video link from prison today, is facing seven charges concerning a series of alleged offences over a four-hour period at four different locations during the tense standoff with gardaí in Ennis on 10 April and the early hours of 11 April.

Members of the Garda Armed Response Unit, along with trained negotiators, were called in to defuse the situation concerning the father and his baby girl.

The man was arrested and the baby was returned into the arms of her mother shortly after 2am on 11 April.

The man is accused of intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct where he held the baby upside down by one leg over the River Fergus at Woodquay in Ennis which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm contrary to section 13 of the Offences Against the Person Act on 10 April 10.

The man is also accused of intentionally or recklessly swinging the baby over his head and to the ground aggressively and narrowly missing a steel pole at Carmody Street in Ennis which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to the baby on 10 April.

The man is also accused to making a threat to Garda Tim Quirke on Carmody Street, intending Quirke to believe that it would be carried out to kill or cause serious harm to the baby on the same date.

Tossing the baby around

The man is also charged with violently tossing the baby around in the air while holding her by one ankle with one hand and threatening to smash her head off the ground which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another at Friars Walk in Ennis on 10 April.

The man is also charged that without lawful excuse of making a threat to Alan West for West to believe that the accused would kill or cause the baby serious harm at Barrack Street in Ennis on the same date.

The man is also charged with making a threat to a woman for her to believe that the accused would kill or cause serious harm to the baby at Friars Walk on 11 April.

People convicted in the Circuit Court of offences under section 13 Non Fatal Against the Person Act are liable to prison terms up to seven years.

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As part of the investigation, gardaí took 60 statements and sought CCTV footage from 30 different premises in Ennis.

In court today, Hassett asked that the legal aid certificate for his client be extended to cover a consultant psychiatrist to carry out a psychiatric evaluation report on the accused.

Hassett asked that due to the nature of the case against his client the legal aid certificate be extended to cover a second counsel.

Hassett stated: “The charges are quite serious and I believe that a second counsel is merited in this case.”

State Solicitor for Clare, Aisling Casey, stated that the set of circumstances of the case are “unusual”.

Judge O’Callaghan extended the legal aid cert to cover the cost of the psychiatric report and the second counsel. O’Callaghan further remanded the accused in custody to appear via video link to Ennis Circuit Court on 13 October.

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Gordon Deegan

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