Father fined for leaving baby outside Wellington strip club

IN COURT: Wayne Schwamm admitted leaving his baby in a car outside an adult club.
PHIL REID/The Dominion Post
IN COURT: Wayne Schwamm admitted leaving his baby in a car outside an adult club.

A father has admitted leaving a baby with a heart condition outside a Wellington strip club in the middle of the night.

Wayne Ricardo Schwamm, 42, of Feilding, left the 18-month-old boy in the back of a car while he was in Splash Club - which is attached to The Mermaid strip club - on Courtenay Pl on April 13.

In Wellington District Court this morning he pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving a child under 14 without reasonable supervision.

Schwamm, who stood outside the dock this morning because the charge only carries a maximum fine of $2000, had gone to pick up a friend so they could discuss a domestic matter with the boy's mother.

Schwamm had only expected to leave the child for a few minutes but discovered his friend had to work overtime.

His lawyer, John Tannahill, said he should have left but "stayed longer and longer".

But it was not the case that Schwamm had indulged in "fantasies of desire".

"On the surface this appears quite sinister but it is not."

The attention of the media had been "the greatest penalty", Mr Tannahill said.

Police sergeant Karen Vaughan said the baby had a heart condition that made breathing difficult if anxious or stressed.

Police said Schwamm left Palmerston North around 12.30pm on April 13 and parked his car on Wellington's Courtenay Place.

He left the boy on the back seat in a basket with the windows up for 40 minutes before a passerby noticed and called police about 3am.

The baby was taken to hospital and police found Schwamm in the nearby Splash Club a short time later.

He was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant and later charged over leaving the child without supervision.

Judge Michael Behrens QC questioned whether Schwamm could have taken the child into the bar with him, to which Mr Tannahill replied his client was concerned about taking his child into a licensed premise.

Judge Behrens fined Schwamm $200 and ordered him to pay $130 court costs.

- with NZPA

The Dominion Post