Northern Ireland news

Toddler suffers seizures after swallowing some of her father's ecstasy supply

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A 14-month-old girl suffered seizures after swallowing some of her father's MDMA (ecstasy) supply, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors said the toddler was exposed to a "significant" quantity of the drug during the incident in west Belfast.

Her 25-year-old father was given 18 months probation after pleading guilty to causing or procuring cruelty to a child.

The defendant, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, must also complete 100 hours community service.

The child was admitted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children on January 30 this year due to prolonged seizures.

Medical checks confirmed she had ingested an amount of MDMA, the city's Magistrates Court was told.

A Crown lawyer said a high concentration was detected in her urine, demonstrating exposure to a significant amount capable of causing the effects.

At the time neither of the little girl's parents were able to provide an explanation, with both denying drugs use.

However, when the defendant was interviewed again he admitted having taken MDMA the previous Saturday night.

He said he had no idea how his daughter then got hold of the drugs.

During the hearing it was confirmed that the child made a full recovery within 48 hours.

"There is no suggestion of any long-term effects," the prosecutor added.

District Judge Mark McGarrity questioned why the case was not being dealt with in the Crown Court.

He explained that custody options available to him following the guilty plea would not "meet the justice of what happened".

"This is a matter of considerable gravity," Mr McGarrity said.

"I'm inclined to impose a combination order, with a probation element of 18 months and 100 hours community service."

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