State fails in appeal to jail man for assaulting his four-month-old daughter 3 months ago

State fails in appeal to jail man for assaulting his four-month-old daughter

"This was a four-month-old infant in the arms of her mother."

*Content warning: This article contains references to domestic abuse.*

The State has failed in a bid to appeal the sentence of a man who assaulted his baby daughter in 2019.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last March, the man was sentenced to six months in prison for assaulting his partner at her home.

Their four-month-old daughter was also injured in the incident, which occurred in September 2019.

The woman was holding the infant as the man repeatedly punched her and pushed her into a wall.

Their daughter's head hit the wall during the attack and she was vomiting when gardaí arrived at the scene shortly afterwards.

The man pleaded guilty to a section three assault contrary to the Non-Fatal Offence Against the Person Act in relation to the incident.

He also pleaded guilty to a section two assault contrary to the same Act regarding a second assault on his partner that took place at his home in June 2020.

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Judge Martin Nolan said at the time that while the man had never intended to hurt the child, his actions were "inexcusable" and the harm the child suffered was being taken "into consideration" in passing sentence.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later appealed the six-month sentence on the grounds that it was "unduly lenient", the Irish Times reports.

At the Court of Appeal this week, the DPP said there was no “prosecutorial complaint” in relation to the section two assault, and asked the court to focus on the first incident.

"This was a four-month-old infant in the arms of her mother," said Ger Small for the DPP, adding that the sentence was “unduly lenient and out of kilter” as the first assault against the child was "a far more egregious offence".

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said that while the first had been the more serious offence, the court could find no “practical consequence” in re-sentencing.

The Court of Appeal was thereby dismissing the appeal, she said.

If you have been affected by the details in this article, you can contact Women's Aid on 1800 341 900.