“It’s a sad and sorry day when a child can not rely on its own parent to protect it," a court hears

Lurgan man had been using cannabis as a 'coping mechanism'

The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.

Staff Reporter

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A Judge has said that there has to be a “zero tolerance of violence against children” after a father pleaded guilty to smacking his three-year-old son.

Telmo Silva, (34), of Kernan Hill Manor, Portadown, pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 during a sitting at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Friday, January 7.

The court heard that on October 11 last year, the child’s mother was sleeping and was woken by the sound of her three-year-old son crying and her then-partner shouting.

At the time, the three-year-old was being toilet trained and she noticed that Silva had carried her son into the shower because he had a bowel movement in his pants.

Whenever, he had done that, the child had been slapped on the buttocks by Silva. The mother saw the marks and her daughter said she heard her brother being slapped and then crying.

Police arrived an hour a half later and red marks were still on the child’s bottom and the injuries were photographed, which showed finger marks on the buttocks from where he had been slapped.

In his defence, the court was told that Silva accepted he was wrong when the police arrived and he accepted full responsibility when speaking to probation. It was also pointed out that he accepts losing his temper on the day in question and that it was “a loss of control” but he is already paying a price by losing custody of the child.

However, District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “If a stranger had of come in to Mr Silva’s home and left marks on his three-year-old’s bottom, would Mr Silva allow that stranger to ever see his child again?”

Aaron Thompson, defending, said “absolutely not” before insisting that Silva’s children are now living with his ex-partner and that he is at a bail address.

The solicitor further added that not only does Silva knows where he went wrong, but that he openly admits he was feeling the pressure of a “failing relationship” which made him over-react very badly which is inexcusable.

Mr Thompson remarked that probation states that Silva has a low likelihood of re-offending and that he works full-time, with supervised contact with his children.

District Judge Kelly told Silva: “to commit violence on a three-year-old, who has no chance of defending itself or in any way of fighting back, because the three-year-old did something that nature intended is horrific.

“The idea that any parent would do that to their own child is unthinkable.

“I’ll be brutally honest, if it was down to me which today you might be thankful that it is not, you wouldn’t be seeing either of these children until they would be adults.

“This would give them a chance to grow up normally, without fear, without fearing the visitation of violence on them because if you could do that to a three-year old, what could you not do to a lippy teenager?”

The Judge imposed a four month custodial sentence for the offence, suspended for two years and added: “It’s a sad and sorry day when a child can not rely on its own parent to protect it and that’s exactly in this case what you have done.

“You’ve removed the blanket of security that they every parent provides for their children by leaving your child in fear of you going forward.

“So how you think that they are going to grow up without lasting consequences I do not know.”

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