A young child, the victim of negligence and assaults, was kept away from child care to avoid questions about 65 bruises on his body.
A young child, the victim of negligence and assaults, was kept away from child care to avoid questions about 65 bruises on his body.

Bruise-covered child kept away from child care, court told

A child the subject of criminal neglect by his mother and assault by another man was kept from going to child care because he was covered with bruises, a court has heard.

James English, 31, appeared in the District Court on Friday where his lawyer James Marcus said his client was "remorseful and distressed" by the injuries suffered by the child at his hand.

English had allowed Kira Leanne McCallum, 36, to live with him after the pair met through "mutual drug use".

She moved into his house with her young child, who was aged almost three at the time.

From there English took over the discipline of the boy which the court heard included blows of "significant force" which went well beyond rough play.

The abuse and assault of the child came to light when McCallum went to the house of a friend in March 2019 who then called an ambulance after seeing that the child was limp, pale and having a seizure.

The child was later found to be suffering from 65 separate areas of bruising and had been taken out of childcare three weeks earlier to avoid scrutiny of his injuries. He was also malnourished.

James English pleaded guilty to two counts of assault against a child living in his house.
James English pleaded guilty to two counts of assault against a child living in his house.

Both McCallum and English were charged with criminal neglect over her care of the child.

The neglect charge was later dropped against English and substituted with multiple counts of aggravated assault.

On the day English's trial was scheduled to begin prosecutors withdrew all but two of the counts of aggravated assault.

English pleaded guilty to those two charges which the court heard formed the basis for a pattern of violent conduct towards the child which included swinging him and throwing him around their southern suburbs unit.

Mr Marcus said English himself had been the subject of violence as a child which had left him with significant trauma.

Kira McCallum was given a good behaviour bond for the criminal neglect of her young son. Picture: Kathryn Bermingham
Kira McCallum was given a good behaviour bond for the criminal neglect of her young son. Picture: Kathryn Bermingham

"He is ashamed of his situation," Mr Marcus said.

"He had visions of his own childhood and he acknowledges that the level of parenting was below substandard."

The court heard that English had a "short temper" and "anger management issues" which often flared up when he was dealing corrections officers while he was on home detention bail.

Mr Marcus said that while the assaults were serious the injuries sustained by the child were not permanent and he was doing well with a new carer.

The assault against the child had come to the attention of people in English's community and he had been subject to "extra-curial punishment" at their hands, Mr Marcus said.

McCallum was spared jail for the more serious crime of criminal neglect in December last year.

Judge Paul Muscat will sentence English in April.

Originally published as Bruise-covered child kept away from child care, court told


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