November 21, 2014

A father has been ordered to go on an anger management course in the hope that he can one day walk his daughter down the aisle.

Letterkenny Court.

Letterkenny Court.

The man appeared at a special sitting of Letterkenny District Court yesterday charged with assaulting his young daughter and also breaking a safety order.

The court heard how the man, who cannot be named, had visited his estranged wife and his children at their home on Mother’s Day, March 10th, 2013.

The father had spoken to his daughter about getting her an arena for her horses and he said he was still trying to get the matter sorted.

The girl left the room but claims she was followed into another room by her father.

Appearing by videolink, the girl claimed her father then pushed his finger into her throat and gritted his teeth telling her “You listen to me.”

The young girl said she was terrified and ran upstairs to tell her mother who came down and asked her husband to leave the house.

“He pushed his finger in. I was terrified – really scared. I thought he would hurt me really bad. It was sore. He said ‘would you listen to me’. He bared his bottom teeth.

“It lasted 30 seconds and he just let go and stood up and I just got up and went upstairs to mum. I was scared and I just wanted to get to mammy as quick as possible,” said the young girl in evidence.

However, in denying both charges, the man said he never touched his daughter and said he was sad to see her having to go through such an ordeal in court.

The man, who was represented by solicitor Patsy Gallagher, said he had put his arm around his daughter to try and convince her that he would get an arena for her horses at some stage.

However, he said she jumped up and left the room.

He said he would never hurt his children whom he now only saw for three hours each week as he was going through a separation with his wife.

The man’s wife said their daughter was terrified after the incident and although she had a red mark on her throat, had not had to receive medical attention.

After considering the case, Judge Alan Mitchell, said he was dismissing the charge that the man breached the safety order.

However he said he believed the girl’s version of events and was satisfied that an assault had taken place.

However he said he did not think that a conviction against the man would be appropriate if he wanted to one day walk his daughter down the aisle.

He adjourned the case for six months and ordered the man to undergo an anger management course and also ordered a probation report.

Judge Mitchell added that if no other matters by the father against his daughter arose and that if he attended the anger management course, he would strike out the conviction.

He then addressed both the mother and father saying “If you are separating I would ask you to park the children aside.”

He adjourned the case again for mention until April 20th.