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Father who bit two-year-old son's cheek gets suspended sentence

The boy, who’s been diagnosed with autism, is receiving therapeutic services.

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A FATHER WHO bit his two-year-old son on the cheek ‘to show him how much it hurt’ has been given a suspended sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard staff at the boy’s playgroup reported their concerns about this and other incidents to social services who had been working with the family since that time.

Staff had previously noted that the boy had “certain difficulties” and was aggressive and rough.

The family has had extensive contact with social workers and received significant therapeutic services for the boy who has been diagnosed with autism.

The 39-year-old man, who was the main carer for the child and who cannot be identified to protect his son’s identity, has undergone anger management therapy and psychological intervention.

Defence counsel for the man said the boy remained in the care of his parents and that social services had concluded that the child was in a loving and supportive family environment.

The accused man, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to one count of wilful assault of the child in June 2013 and two counts of assault in December 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan said playschool staff were to be praised for how they dealt with the matter and said they had handled it in an “exemplary way” that was fair to everyone.

He said it seemed the man was “at the end of his tether” and did not know what to do with his child.

“Most parents feel like that at certain times” said Judge Nolan, but noted it was not permissible to treat the child as the accused had. He imposed a one-year sentence which he suspended in full on the basis the accused be of good behaviour.

A local garda told the court that the boy’s playgroup first reported concerns about the boy when he was two years old and they noted bruise marks on his neck.

The child later attended with a bite mark to his cheek. The accused admitted biting the child to show him how sore it was.

In a later incident at playschool the accused man struck his son several times and swung him by his arm after being asked to collect him following a biting incident.

Defence counsel, Tom Neville BL, said his client had been fully co-operative with investigation and expressed remorse. He handed in a psychological report which he said outlined his client’s background in terms of how he had been raised and differing approaches to discipline.

Read: Man who poured boiling water over pregnant girlfriend has prison sentence doubled while appealing

Read: Man who defrauded 82-year-old woman over ‘roofing job’ gets suspended sentence

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Fiona Ferguson

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