Alleged toddler-basher's name revealed

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 13:54 27/03/2014
Caleb Skinner
SUPPLIED
Masterton toddler Caleb Skinner, who is recovering in Auckland's Starship children's hospital after he was allegedly assaulted at home last week.

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A man who allegedly assaulted toddler Caleb Skinner, leaving him with brain damage, has been named and charged with assaulting another child.

He is Jason Mark Sutherland, 39, of Masterton.

Sutherland, an orchard worker, has been in custody since the evening of March 3, the day Caleb was found unconscious at his Masterton home, where Sutherland also lived. Police have said he is not a blood relative of Caleb.

At a court appearance earlier this month he was charged with assaulting a child, but today he made his first appearance on a more serious charge of wounding Caleb with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Police indicated it would replace the lesser assault charge.

He also faced two new charges, of assaulting a second child and of breaching a protection order relating to that child.

His interim name suppression lapsed today and Judge M. O'Dwyer declined an application from lawyer Virginia Pearson for it to continue. She suppressed the name of the second child.

She remanded Sutherland in custody without plea on all charges until next month. Bail was not sought.

Ambulance staff had to resuscitate Caleb following the alleged assault, after which he was flown to Auckland's Starship children's hospital with a serious head injury.

Last week he was transferred to Wilson Centre for Children's rehabilitation service in Takapuna, where he is expected to stay for several weeks. His parents Joanne Smith and Daryll Skinner are staying with him.

Doctors have said he has suffered some brain damage.

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- The Dominion Post

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