Haringey man spared jail - despite admitting second child cruelty offence

The man admitted being passed out drunk while caring for two-year-old just over a year after leaving her to go out drinking

A MAN who was found passed out drunk while in charge of his two-year-old daughter on Boxing Day last year has been told he should not expect a custodial sentence – despite it being his second similar offence.

It is the second time the 25-year-old man has pleaded guilty to child cruelty charges, after previously leaving the child home alone to drink cider and vodka with his girlfriend when his child was seven months old.

But Judge Simon Carr told probation officers at Wood Green Court on Monday they should prepare a report on the basis that a non-custodial sentence would be the most likely outcome.

The man – who we legally cannot name in order to protect the identity of the child – was due to go on trial on Monday on charges of cruelty to a child under 16 at a property near Alexandra Palace, after previously pleading not guilty.

But after Judge Carr decided an application by the prosecution for bad character – which detailed his previous conviction – could be heard by the jury and told his representative that a custodial sentence was unlikely if he was found guilty, the proceedings took a short break and the man returned to the room to plead guilty to the charge.

The court heard – during the bad character application – that in July 2008, when the girl was seven-months-old, the man had left her alone to go drinking with his partner, returning an hour or two later around 1am, a charge he pleaded guilty to in September 2008.

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It is believed Haringey Council social services became involved at this point, making a number of spot checks on the family.

But on December 26 last year, police were called to a property near Alexandra Palace after concerns were raised by a neighbour – the man was found passed out on the bed and was unable to be roused by officers. It is believed the man claimed he was not drunk, but just tired.

The Crown Prosecution Service had originally also pressed charges against the mother regarding the incident as she was also in the property at the time, but later offered no evidence and therefore dropped the charges just before the couple’s trial was to begin.

Since December, the child has been in foster care, with the parents allowed supervised visits and a barrister representing Haringey Council was at the hearing.

After the man pleaded guilty, the judge instructed a probation officer to prepare reports for the sentencing of the man, due to take place in November.

He said that though it was the man’s second conviction for child cruelty, there was no evidence that the child was actually hurt.

Judge Carr said: “Although it passes the custody threshold, I would be minded to suspend it.”

He later added: “Clearly what we need to do is address the drink problem.”