Parents jailed for neglecting infant

Last updated 10:27 13/03/2014

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Parents have been jailed for willful neglect of their 10-week-old son after he suffered multiple fractures that went untreated.

Name suppression for Kalifa Maulolo, 44, and his wife Tepatasi, 35, was lifted when they were sentenced by Judge Tony Adeane in Napier District Court this morning.

Kalifa was sentenced to three years' jail. His wife was sentenced to two years and four months' prison.

Judge Adeane said the offending was "close to the worst of its kind" and the degree of neglect would not allow a sentence of home detention.

After a three-day jury trial in January the couple were found guilty of wilfully neglecting the boy between his birth on January 26, 2011, and March 25, 2011.

The boy and his older sister have not been in the couple's care since April 2011.

The jury took less than two hours to reach their verdict.

The boy suffered multiple fractures while living with his parents in Lower Hutt. 

His injuries were not discovered until early April, after Tepatasi moved to Hastings and took him to a doctor for his immunisation shots. When it was noticed he had a badly swollen thigh he was sent to hospital, where X-rays showed fractures to both legs, his pelvis and left big toe.

Pediatrician Philip Moore spoke to the couple at hospital and a police investigation began.

Dr Moore and a pediatric radiologist, Russell Metcalfe, told the jury the boy's injuries would have been "excruciating" and must have been evident to his parents.

Tepatasi told the court the couple were not the baby's biological parents and that she falsified a birth certificate and lied to doctors and police.

Kalifa, who had been on bail, was remanded in custody during the trial after he eyed Dr Moore in the court foyer and said:  "Thanks for ruining the last two years of our lives".

He has been in custody since then. 

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- The Dominion Post

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