Northern Ireland

Man who punched granddaughter six times avoids jail

Dungannon Magistrates' Court
Image caption The case was heard at Dungannon Magistrates' Court

A man who punched his granddaughter in the head six times after she poured his bottle of alcohol down the sink has been given a suspended sentence.

The County Tyrone man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, got angry after the incident during a family dinner.

Dungannon Magistrates' Court heard police were called to a house on 3 August, after reports of a disturbance.

The judge warned he would "go straight to jail" if the behaviour was repeated.

The court heard the man had been drinking throughout the day and the child had previously expressed concern over the levels of alcohol he would consume.

As had occurred previously, she took a bottle from him and poured it down the sink.

The court heard this usually "amused" her grandfather, but on this occasion he exploded in anger.

He received a four-month sentence, suspended for two years.

"It is hard to think of a more serious breach of trust than an assault of a young child," the judge said.

"She is entitled to feel safe and to be suddenly pummelled to the head by her grandfather, who was in a drunken state, can only have been horrific."

He added: "You have potentially ruined your relationship with your grandchild and other family members. This matter merits custody, but I am prepared to take a chance."