16 Aug 2022

Kildare mother guilty of assaulting daughter

Wife beat daughter with horse whip, court hears

Kildare mother guilty of assaulting daughter

The case was heard at Naas District Court

A tragic case was heard at Naas District Court earlier today involving a charge of assault against a Kildare mother.

The woman, in her early 50s, was charged with assaulting her daughter, and with breaching a protection order.

The woman’s daughter, who is currently preparing to sit her Leaving Cert, gave emotional evidence, that in late 2015, her mother had failed in her bid to get a Barring Order against her husband (the girl's father) and against the girl.

The girl and the defandant's husband had successfully applied for one earlier that summer.

The girl gave evidence that her mother approached her later on the day the latter had applied for the barring order, and attempted to burn her with a cigarette.

On another occasion, at her father’s office, another incident took place where the girl reported to her father that her mother had almost pulled her arm violently.

There is a significant background to the case, which proved distressing for all those involved and for many experienced court observers.

The defendant has suffered for many years with mental health issues, and has spent prolonged periods of time in residential care.

The girl told the court that her mother had abused her and beaten her throughout her life, and that they never had a good relationship.

“She let me be molested. She’s always hit me and done horrible things to me,” the girl told the court. 

She also said that she had seen her mother physically assault her father.

For his part, the girl’s father told the court that it had taken him many years to realise that his wife could not be trusted to tell the truth. He said that on the day she applied to take a barring order out against him that she replied that she hadn’t.

He said that his wife had beaten his daughter with a horse whip, and that the girl had kept much of the abuse to herself for fear of breaking up the family.

A letter, apparently one of many that was written by the defendant to her daughter and husband, was presented to the court and read into evidence. In it the defendant threatened her husband, telling him, amongst other thing, to sleep with one eye open and that she’d clean out his bank account.

Even before the case started, Judge Desmond Zaidan asked defence barrister Sarah Connolly on a number of occasions if her client was OK.

In evidence in her own defence, the defendant told the court that she had been sexually abused as a child and raped and had had a child and given them up for adoption.

In rambling evidence, she alleged that her husband had sexually abused her, that she lost a baby through miscarriage, that she had never laid a hand on her daughter or her husband. She denied all of the charges and said she loved her daughter.

She said that she’d been in Lakeview “seven or eight times”. She said that she had been diagnosed with Bbpolar disorder, but was getting treatment and therapy and responding well to it.

Judge Desmond Zaidan said that he did not believe the defendant, and found her guilty.

He gave the Probation Service nine weeks to psychiatrically evaluate her. And he suggested that her daughter and husband get therapy to help them through this difficult time.

“This has shocked me,” he admitted. “And I’m not easily shocked.”

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