Child accuses father of ‘grabbing him by neck’

A FATHER accused of grabbing his son by the neck and leaving the child upset and frightened after he refused to go to school has appeared in the Magistrate’s Court.

Picture: ROB CURRIE (30653924)
Picture: ROB CURRIE (30653924)

The boy, in evidence heard by the court, said his father had repeatedly punched him, kicked him and slapped him in the past. The father, who the JEP has opted not to name to protect the identity of the child, denies the charge of causing harm to a child.

The court heard yesterday that the boy was being dropped off at his primary school by his father one morning last year.

He was late as they had been caught in a traffic jam and refused to get out of the car, the court heard, and was said to be embarrassed to be seen arriving late in front of his classmates. His father and two staff members were unable to persuade him to get out of the car.

Later staff members said they saw the car rocking as if movement was going on inside, the court heard. Legal adviser Simon Crowder, prosecuting, alleges this was when the father attacked his son. A recording of a police interview was played in court in which the boy said of the incident: ‘My dad got really angry. He was grabbing me by the arm and neck. I told him to stop but he wouldn’t listen.’

The boy made a number of other accusations including saying that on one occasion, when his dad told him to make a cup of coffee and he refused, saying his dad should make it himself, his father then shouted abuse at him. In the police interview, the child said: ‘I went upstairs to get away from him. He stepped on my foot so I couldn’t go and he punched me really hard on the back.

‘I was at my mum’s house and my dad came to pick me up. I didn’t want to go and he hit me on the side of the face and I bit my cheek. It really hurt.’

He also alleged that his father had punched him in the stomach when he had not put on his seat belt in the passenger seat of his car, and that he had kicked him in the leg, causing a large bruise ‘because I wasn’t listening to him’. He added: ‘I don’t want to live with my dad any more.’

The court also heard from an education welfare officer who was at the school on the morning in question and had tried to persuade the boy to come into school.

She said: ‘He was sitting in the passenger seat, refusing to co-operate. It was unlike him to refuse to enter school. He didn’t engage with me and I think he was intentionally making things difficult for his father.’

She advised the father to walk around the block to allow the situation to cool down but said she later saw movement inside he car. ‘It was quite fast and appeared to be movement that wasn’t safe.’

The boy showed her red marks on his neck, she said, that he said his father had caused.

Advocate Darry Robinson, defending, asked her: ‘Had you received any disclosures about the boy being kicked or punched before this day?’ She said: ‘No.’

Advocate Robinson asked: ‘Did you know his nickname at school is “the actor”?’ She replied: ‘No.’

Later the head teacher gave evidence confirming the welfare officer’s version of events and Advocate Robinson asked her if the boy made things up from time to time to which she replied that the child had ‘always been very truthful with us’.

Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris was presiding. The case continues.

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