A 30-year-old woman, who is charged with the murder of a four-year-old boy in the south-west of the country, has seen her plea of guilty to manslaughter rejected on Thursday at the Central Criminal Court.
Aoife O’Leary BL, prosecuting, said the defendant’s plea on the first count was not acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the woman’s case would proceed to trial on the charge of murder next year.
The woman, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions, is charged with the murder of the boy, who sustained injuries at an address and died in hospital on March 16th, 2021.
The defendant on Thursday pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter of the child on March 16th, 2021 when the first charge was put to her by the registrar at the Central Criminal Court.
The woman also pleaded guilty to wilfully assaulting the child, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to his health or seriously to affect his well-being, being a person having charge or care of the child, on a date unknown between January 1st, 2021 and March 5th, 2021, both dates inclusive.
The woman began to cry in the dock before she was arraigned on the third count before the court.
She further pleaded guilty to a second count of willfully assaulting the child on a date unknown between March 6th, 2021 and March 11th, 2021, both dates inclusive.
Seamus Clarke SC, defending, told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that his client’s trial date was fixed for April next year and asked for her pleas to be marked “as early”.
The barrister said the trial date for the woman’s co-accused was also listed for April 8th, 2024.
Counsel for both the prosecution and the defence said that reporting restrictions in the case apply under Section 252 of the Children Act 2001, telling the judge that the deceased was a child and that there is a living child witness in the case.
The judge remanded the defendant in custody with consent to bail.
Mr Clarke said his client’s co-accused was not charged with murder but with other counts “similar to count two”.