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Why smacking and abuse are not the same?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 25, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Why smacking and abuse are not the same?
Tuesday, 24.04.2007, 09:07am (GMT12)

Child beaten to death after soiling pants, court told

A south Auckland couple beat the mother’s three-year-old son with several objects including a baseball bat for continually soiling his pants and then didn’t seek medical help for fear they would be implicated, a High Court trial was told.

The 32-year-old woman and her 27-year-old partner yesterday denied a charge on the first day of their trial at the High Court in Auckland of murdering the boy at the beginning of last year at their Otara home.

The couple, who have name suppression, also denied the wilful ill-treatment of the boy and a manslaughter charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life for not seeking medical treatment as he lay injured until it was too late.

The boy died in Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital on February 1 last year, the day after being admitted with life-threatening injuries.

Police said he received at least 50 to 60 blows to his body.

Crown lawyer Claire Ryan said in her opening statement that the boy spent most of his life with another guardian before returning to his mother’s care in late November 2005, three weeks after his third birthday.

Ms Ryan said that when the boy arrived there were other children in the house that he didn’t know, he didn’t speak good English and was uncomfortable with his new surroundings.

One of the results of the change was that he soiled his pants and wet his bed, something Ms Ryan said was unsurprising from a three-year-old undergoing a huge change in his life.

She said the response of his mother and her partner was to discipline him by hitting him, at first with their hands or a wooden spoon.

When this didn’t work, with the soiling becoming even more frequent, Ms Ryan said he began to be beaten with various objects including a metal spoon, a vacuum cleaner pipe, an oar handle and an aluminium baseball bat.

The boy became scared of his soiling being discovered and he tried washing faeces down the sink or throwing it out the window, but he was caught and beaten by his mother, she said.

She said on the morning of January 31 the woman found the boy had wet his bed, after which she beat him with the oar handle, and she later went to an interview. Later that day, her partner, who had returned from work, beat the boy with the baseball bat.

“He had a large ulcer on his buttock that remained unattended until his death,” Ms Ryan told the court.

“After his death he was found to have severe head injuries, a swollen abdomen, bruising to his legs, arms, back and his groin area, and arms swollen from his shoulder to his fingers.”

She said it was clear that the boy needed medical help after being beaten on January 31, but that the couple did not do so because they feared they would be in trouble for inflicting the injuries and they could have their other children taken from them.

“It was only after (the male partner’s) uncle persuaded them to seek medical help that they rang the ambulance. By then it was too late.”

The boy was taken to Middlemore Hospital and then to Starship Children’s Hospital but died the next day.

The woman’s counsel, John Rowan QC, said in a brief opening address that she did not intend to kill her son or to cause any serious injury which she knew was likely to result in death.

Evidence was also given yesterday from a witness at the house, who cannot be identified, of the victim receiving a beating from the stepfather with a baseball bat the day before he died which was so severe that he could not keep his feet.

The beating was delivered after faeces from the boy had been found in the kitchen of the house, the witness said.

The trial before a jury of seven women and five men is expected to last up to three weeks.


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2 Responses to “Why smacking and abuse are not the same?”

  1. Jay said

    Make all the Bills you like Bradford.
    People have killed people since the begining of time. If someone decides to kill someone, or beat the crap out of someone, it happens. Why, many reasons.
    Some persons are just dangerous to themselves and others. A lot are known to
    govt agencies. Some are let loose by the same bods, and all hell break loose.
    How many NZ born are killing people!
    How many cases of bad child abuse or deaths, have hit the headlines,
    then it has come out that Cyfs personal
    full well, knew children were in danger.
    No rhyme or reason.

  2. peaka said

    Don’t blame cyfs for the danger that those children are subjected to (unless cyfs put them into that household), you should be blaming the perp, the person who can’t control there desires or cruelty. You make it sound like its human nature to hurt other people, just because it has always happened doesn’t mean it should continue. Cyfs do sometimes get it wrong and fuck up, but what about the parents and caregivers that fuck up. Are you saying that they shouldn’t be held for their actions past and present? Maybe just blame it on cyfs – cause they should have been the ones protecting the child(ren)? You say that cyfs should step in if they know? If so, are you saying that children should be taken out of situations where a person known to Cyfs to have committed in the past or currently abusing children? I’m abit confused by your reply. Do we do something about these dangerous people? or do we (not just cyfs) look after the children, even if there is a potential for violence based on past actions? and if cyfs does nothing and heaven forbid children get hurt, cyfs gets blamed anyway.

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