Baby hurt terribly, neglect trial told

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

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A 10-week-old boy who suffered multiple broken bones would have been in excruciating pain, a paediatrician giving evidence in a trial of the boy's parents says.

The parents, whose names are suppressed, are charged with wilfully neglecting the boy between his birth on January 26, 2011, and March 25, 2011.

The man is 43 and the woman is 35. Their trial, expected to last two to three days, began in Napier District Court yesterday.

The offending is alleged to have occurred in Lower Hutt, but the boy's injuries were not discovered until early April, after the mother moved to Hastings and took him to a doctor for his immunisation shots.

When it was noticed the baby had a badly swollen thigh he was sent to Hawke's Bay Hospital, where X-rays showed fractures to both legs, his pelvis and left big toe.

Doctors later reviewed X-rays from Hutt Hospital, where the baby had been treated for a chest infection in mid-March, and concluded he had suffered earlier fractures to a rib and tibia.

Crown lawyer Steve Manning told the court it was not possible to prove who caused the seven non-accidental fractures, or how they were caused.

But the Crown alleged the parents knew he was suffering and deliberately neglected to seek medical attention.

When the injuries were discovered they were believed to be at least three weeks old, and to have been inflicted on at least two occasions, Manning said.

"The child can't talk. You are invited in this case to draw an inference that the child had those injuries for a period . . . that must have been very obvious to both parents that something was seriously wrong," he said.

Paediatric radiologist Russell Metcalfe told the court that X-rays taken on April 5 revealed a fracture to the baby's right femur that was at least seven days old.

This was a "major fracture" requiring a significant and direct blow to the bone and the boy would have been in "excruciating pain".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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