Court date for man accused of assaulting baby

A man accused of assaulting an 8-month-old baby has been remanded in custody to reappear tomorrow.

The 33-year-old Hamilton forestry worker, who was granted interim name suppression, appeared at the Hamilton District Court today accompanied by family members who sat in the public gallery.

Police charged the man with assaulting a child, understood to be his son, following an incident at a York St house yesterday.

As community magistrate Sue Hovell remanded the man to reappear for a bail hearing tomorrow, family members could be heard yelling "chin up …" and "love you".

The baby was rushed to Waikato Hospital yesterday but was later airlifted to Starship Children's Hospital with critical head injuries.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said the parents called her over to take a look at the baby as an ambulance was being called.

The woman arrived to find the baby's eyes rolling in his head "and he started going a bit purple".

The woman said the baby's temperature was normal and she couldn't see any signs of injury, bruising or bleeding.

"But he couldn't breathe properly from what I could see, he was gasping for air and his father was on the phone to the ambulance."

The neighbour, who said the baby was a premature twin and had been sickly most of his life, said she heard the St John operator saying the baby might have had measles.

A St John spokesman later confirmed that the baby had head injuries and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Waikato field crime manager, Acting Detective Inspector Mark Greene said the address where the baby was found was under guard and would be the subject of a scene examination by forensic experts today.

- James Ihaka of the NZ Herald

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