Jurors find man guilty of assaulting nephews in his care

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2014

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A King Country man has been found guilty of assaulting his young nephews.

The 48-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, denied the charges, saying his nephews were "incorrigible liars".

But in the Hamilton District Court yesterday, after several hours of deliberation, the jury found the man guilty on five of the seven charges he faced. He was convicted on two charges of assaulting a child, one of injuring with intent and two of assault with a weapon.

He was acquitted on one charge of assaulting a child and one of injuring with intent to injure.

The incidents occurred on four separate occasions over a 12-month period in 2012.

Crown prosecutor Rebecca Mann said the boys were aged 7 and 8 when they were placed by Child, Youth and Family in the care of their uncle and aunt.

The older boy, now 11, testified that his uncle hit him and his brother several times, either with black hosing or punches, she said.

He also told the jury that his uncle hit his younger brother so hard with the black hosing on his bottom that it started bleeding.

The younger brother, now 10, confirmed the beatings and said his uncle made his dog bite the boy's hand so hard that it caused a puncture wound and a scar which was still visible.

Ms Mann said the uncle made the dog the responsibility of the boys, so he used the animal as a form of punishment.

The man's lawyer, Joe Hamblett, described the boys as "unruly children" and "incorrigible liars".

Mr Hamblett claimed the boys' motivation for lying was because they missed their mother as she stopped visiting them, and they objected to their uncle's discipline, which included removing their privileges.

However, the jury did not buy the defence.

The man was convicted and remanded by Judge Merelina Burnett for sentencing next month.

belinda.feek@waikatotimes.co.nz

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