Mother guilty of abusing children

A jury today found an Invercargill woman guilty of beating her three sons.

The jury returned to the Dunedin District Court shortly before 5pm and announced it had found the 41-year-old Invercargill woman guilty on 10 charges.

Among those were regularly beating her sons with various weapons including a jug cord, tent pole, belt and wooden spoon during various incidents in Napier, Hastings and Invercargill.

She was found not guilty on two charges of assaulting a child with a belt.

The woman, who has name suppression, to protect the identity of the children, was remanded on bail to reappear for sentence in the Dunedin District Court on November 30.

Earlier, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll told the jury they had to decide who was telling the truth and also whether the Crown had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Someone is not telling the truth. It is a matter ultimately for you to decide," the judge said.

The jury was sent out just after 11am.

The woman strenuously denied 11 of the 12 charges, only conceding that she had hit one of the children with a belt because he put a hole in a wall.

Her defence on that charge was one of reasonable force, a defence that is no longer available under new "anti-smacking" legislation but still applies in this case because the incident happened before the new law came into force.

The charges related to incidents alleged to have happened between April 2006 and March 2008. The children were aged two, six and eight when the offending was alleged to have begun.

The accused said her adult daughter and her husband, who have custody of her 12-year-old son, made up the other incidents as a result of a custody dispute.

The judge told the jury before it retired that the couple had not made any claims about assault on the 12-year-old boy.

"If the story is made up why did they not make up a story about (the 12-year-old boy) being assaulted," the judge said.

Four key witnesses have given evidence in the case including the two older boys who provided evidence via a pre-recorded video interview, as well as the accused woman's adult daughter and her husband.

The accused also took to the stand.

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