A CONVICTED drug dealer who was found guilty of child cruelty and neglect has avoided an immediate custodial sentence.
The 39-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was prosecuted before Limerick Circuit Court in relation to offences involving his teenage son over a two year period. He has three other children with his partner.
During a sentencing hearing, Judge Tom O’Donnell recalled evidence during the three day trial that a garda investigation was launched following the seizure of significant quantities of drugs at a location in County Kerry.
The jury was told there was no bed in the apartment where the man lives and that his son was sleeping on the floor. The defendant is not able to cook and his children appeared disheveled and unwashed when gardai first encountered them.
The boy was not being given lunch for school and minor medical issues were not addressed which affected his ability to concentrate in school. The jury in the trial was told there were also a number of incidents of physical assault.
Judge O’Donnell was told while Tusla has been involved with the defendant and his family for over a decade. Its involvement has escalated in recent years.
Brian McInerney BL said it was not a case of “calculated, deliberate and willful abuse of a child over a long period” and he submitted there is “absolute chaos” within his client’s family as both he and his partner suffer from a serious drug addictions.
Judge O’Donnell said the courage and bravery of the man’s son who gave evidence during the trial had to be commented.
Imposing a two year suspended sentence, he said he did not believe the imposition of a prison sentence would assist matters.
He imposed a two year sentence which he suspended for six years. The defendant is currently serving a four year sentence for drugs offences.