Man discharged without conviction after breaking child's femur

The man's daughter had surgery at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim. (File photo)

The man's daughter had surgery at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim. (File photo)

A man who broke his daughter's femur only meant to give her a "kick up the backside", a court has heard.

The Blenheim man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, was at home in the backyard with his daughter when she started misbehaving.

He decided to give her a "kick up the backside", the summary said, but he missed and kicked her in the upper leg.

The girl complained shortly afterwards that her leg hurt and her father noticed her leg was swollen.

He alerted his wife and then drove the girl to Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim.

The girl had a fractured femur, and required surgery.

Her father was initially charged with injuring a child with reckless disregard for the safety of others, however police downgraded the charge to assaulting a child.

The man admitted the new charge and appeared for sentencing at the Blenheim District Court on Monday.

His lawyer Rob Harrison said the man felt terrible about what had happened.

He only intended to "give her a kick up the backside", Harrison said of the February incident.

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"There was never an intent to cause harm."

The man had since started a Stopping Violence programme and completed the Building Great Dads and Parenting Through Separation courses.

He also wrote a letter of apology to his daughter and attended a restorative justice meeting with her.

"There are all sorts of follow-on effects from one very brief instant," Judge Tony Zohrab said.

A probation report recommended a sentence of supervision.

However, Harrison argued for a discharge without conviction, saying his client - a tradesman - would not be able to do his job if he had a conviction for violence as he would not be allowed to enter private homes or businesses.

Judge Zohrab agreed that the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the seriousness of the crime.

"I don't, in any way, mean to downplay the seriousness of the act and the physical and psychological effects in the short-term and long-term on your daughter. But there is a real and appreciable risk you could lose your employment," Judge Zohrab said.

"I appreciate some people would say, 'well, it's what happens in this situation, you lose your job', but the effect on your wife and daughter would be catastrophic."

Judge Zohrab discharged the man without conviction.

He also granted final name suppression, adding it was "not for you, but to protect your daughter".

 - The Marlborough Express

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