News

Heavy-handed stepdad fined

A STEPFATHER slapped his five-year-old stepson on the head and neck repeatedly after he'd had enough of the kids arguing throughout the day, an Ipswich court was told.

The boy's mother, the 41-year-old man and their brood had attended a barbecue at a friend's house for the NRL final on October 2 where the man consumed a large amount of beer.

When they arrived home to Springfield Lakes, the mother went out to the service station for 10 minutes, leaving the boy in the stepfather's care.

Later that evening she noticed marks on his neck and asked the boy what happened.

The boy said, "(Name) slapped me heaps of times really hard in the face and didn't say sorry".

The boy told his mother he "wasn't being naughty" at the time of the slapping.

The Ipswich Child Protection Unit received information about the assault on October 4 and inspected the child.

He had extensive speckled bruising from behind his ear extending about 7cm down his neck to his chin.

The man was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Mick Eather called for actual prison time as a deterrent for this sort of abuse against children, which he said was an increasing problem in society.

"It is quite obvious from the images (photos tendered to the court) the degree of force (used) went far and above what any reasonable person would do in the community," Snr Sgt Eather said.

Defence lawyer Natasha Shorter said two of the couple's children had ADHD which presented many challenges within the family unit.

Ms Shorter said the children had been fighting on the day of the offence, and the man was so intoxicated he didn't remember parts of the slapping.

Magistrate Michael Quinn said he wasn't entirely satisfied with the man's claims he couldn't recollect what he had done.

"Loss of memory is the first hiding place for the guilty and the cowardly," Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said it was clear from the photos that the boy had been slapped more than once and with significant force, causing great pain to the child.

"You clearly lost control ... (this was a) cowardly attack on a defenceless and helpless five-year-old whose protection is paramount," he said.

Ms Shorter said the man, who has no criminal history whatsoever, felt a huge degree of embarrassment and remorse.

Mr Quinn said, to the man's credit, he had been taking counselling and parenting courses. The man pleaded guilty and was fined $1200.

Topics:  assault occasioning bodily harm, child protection and investigation unit



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