Man accused of assault on 2-year-old

Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013

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A man charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a 2-year-old boy is standing trial in the Invercargill District Court.

The Crown alleges Aaron Kenneth Charles Howell, 24, assaulted the boy in his bedroom at Otahuti on May 29, 2009, causing his brain to bleed.

Howell faces one charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for the boy's safety.

Howell has pleaded not guilty, with defence lawyer Hugo Young telling the jury in his opening statement yesterday that Howell did not assault the boy.

"It therefore follows that the cause of the brain injury suffered by the complainant must have been accidental," Mr Young said.

However, Crown prosecutor Mary-Jane Thomas, in her opening address to the jury, said Howell's actions in the boy's bedroom caused a "violent deceleration" of his head which caused his brain to bleed.

The boy was taken to Southland Hospital and an urgent CT scan revealed a collection of blood around the left side of the boy's brain, Ms Thomas said.

The boy was transferred to Auckland's Starship Hospital. Surgery revealed the blood was from a torn vein in the brain, she said.

A paediatrician from Starship and a pathologist would give evidence that a child would not get that type of injury unless there had been a violent deceleration of the head, Ms Thomas said.

Because the family was moving out of their house on the day of the alleged assault, there was no furniture in the boy's bedroom which he could have fallen off, she said.

"The Crown says that violent deceleration which led to the tearing of the vein was caused by the accused."

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