The parents of a nine-year-old girl have been found guilty of assaulting, neglecting, and being cruel to their daughter, leaving her with life-changing injuries.
The 39-year-old man and his 36-year-old wife were found guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of two charges of assault causing serious harm and three causing of cruelty at their family home between June 28 and July 2, 2019.
They had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Gardaí began investigating the matter after the nine-year-old girl was found unconscious at her home on July 2, 2019.
She was subsequently taken to hospital via ambulance with multiple bruises, cuts, burns, and bite marks on her body, according to RTÉ.
She also suffered bleeding on the brain and now relies on carers to perform basic daily tasks.
The girl's two siblings initially told gardaí that she suffered the injuries after falling in the shower on the morning of July 2.
However, her younger brother later said that this was a lie and added that his mother told him to give a fake account of what happened before the ambulance arrived.
Meanwhile, her sister testified that she saw the victim lying naked and unconscious at roughly 11:30 a.m. on July 2 and said that her mother thought that she was dead.
The court heard that the girls' mother called her husband at work at around 1:30 p.m. and told him that she thought she was going to kill her.
It also heard that the girl's father arrived home from work at 3 p.m. but only called for an ambulance at 10 p.m.
The couple told doctors that the girl's injuries arose from falling off her bike several days earlier and from falling in the shower earlier that morning.
However, medical experts said that the girl's injuries were not consistent with accidents.
The court also heard that the girl's injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma and violent shaking of the head.
The officer who led the investigation said that the victim suffered "horrendous" physical abuse and said that she would not recover from her injuries.
Inspector Brian Downey told the court that the girl can no longer see, touch, hear, or swallow as a result of the injuries.
He added that the child suffered "an exorcism" and said it was the first case in Ireland of faith-based abuse.
"No sort of abuse that is faith-based will be tolerated. Children have a right to grow up free of violence, physical or emotional," Downey told the court.
The couple, who are originally from North Africa, cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.
They were charged with a total of ten counts of assault, neglect, and cruelty.
A jury of six men and five women found the couple guilty on all counts after a 12-day trial at the Dublin Criminal Circuit Court.
Judge Martin Nolan remanded the couple in custody until sentencing on January 24, 2022.