Man blames children for baby's injuries

A man charged with fracturing the skull of a 10-month-old in his care and breaking another seven of the boy's bones has blamed his children for the injuries.

The baby suffered fractures to his skull, both legs, an arm, wrist and three ribs.

Eugene Paul Harris, 31, is alleged to have caused the injuries. He is charged with causing the baby grievous bodily harm, the maximum sentence for which is 14 years' imprisonment.

The baby was in the care of Harris and his partner in early February this year, when the abuse is alleged to have happened.

According to the police summary of facts, the 10-month-old was "happy and content and was rolling around using both hands" at his childcare centre on February 5. However, when he was returned to the centre on February 7 - after it was closed for Waitangi Day - the childcare staff noticed he was unusually unsettled.

On Waitangi Day, Harris had drunk pre-mixed bourbon and cola in his garage area from about 2pm, the police summary states.

"A childcare assistant believed [the baby] was in some sort of pain due to the fact that he would not stop crying. It was noticed [his] left arm was floppy and fell to his side."

Childcare staff took the infant to an accident and emergency centre in Takanini, where his arm was x-rayed and found to be broken. He was sent to the Kidz First children's hospital at Middlemore.

Another x-ray found his shin bone was broken. A full skeletal x-ray uncovered the extent of the rest of his injuries.

A specialist paediatrician believed the injuries had been inflicted intentionally, the police summary said.

Harris denied the charge to police and blamed his children for being rough.

A police spokeswoman said the baby was expected to make a full recovery.

Harris appeared in Manukau District Court yesterday and was refused bail. He is scheduled to reappear next month.

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