A man who injured a 2-year-old girl by hitting her in the
face has been jailed for 15 months and told by the judge the
courts will not tolerate violence against children.
During sentencing in the Whangarei District Court yesterday
Judge Russell Callender said the law was straightforward: "No
one is to physically touch children at all."
And he didn't stop there.
"Not only must you be deterred but the message has to go out
to the community that the courts will not tolerate violence
against children in any way."
The court heard Eden Wetere, 22, of Ngaiotonga, had
previously pleaded guilty to an amended charge of injuring
with reckless disregard on the morning his jury trial was to
begin in September.
Judge Callender said Wetere was drunk when he struck the
child in the face. She suffered grazing to her eyelids and
two black eyes. The child was taken to hospital but was
checked and released.
"Offending like this against a young child has to be dealt
with by a term of imprisonment. A community-based sentence
doesn't send the right message out to a community plagued by
such offending," Judge Callender said.
Lawyer Kelly Ellis said Wetere was a young man who had
problems and it was important to put him on the right track
sooner rather than later.
Ms Ellis said the relationship between Wetere and his partner
had been troubled. However in this instance he realised he
had "mucked up" and was remorseful.
The Crown, represented by Moana Jarman-Taylor, said jail was
the only option in this case as while the girl had recovered
from the injuries, she had been affected psychologically.
The charge carries a maximum five-year jail term.
"You were in the position of a father and you abused that
position ... " the judge said.
Once the jail term was complete Wetere was ordered to
undertake alcohol counselling, attend a basic work and living
skills course and training course.
- Kristin Edge of The Northern Advocate