A 35-year-old man was sentenced to four months jail today after he beat his nine-year-old son with a plastic hanger over homework. The father cannot be named due to a court-mandated gag order intended to protect the child’s identity.
The father was sentenced today after he pleaded guilty to one charge of ill-treating a child in his custody in June. The court heard that the incident happened around 9pm in the evening on 4 Aug 2017, shortly after the boy’s mother left him in the care of her husband while she went out for dinner with her friends.
The father had been watching television while his son was doing his homework when the mother left the house. About an hour later, the boy asked his father to help him with his homework. His father agreed but asked the boy to think of the answers on his own.
The boy then gave multiple answers to his father, all of which were wrong. The court heard that the boy’s father became enraged at this and proceeded to beat the boy. The prosecutor said that “the accused was angered by the victim’s mistakes,” before he left the dining room.
The father returned with a plastic hanger while the boy cried for mercy. His father, however, yanked the boy from his chair causing him to fall to the floor, before holding the child upside-down from his left leg.
The father proceeded to hit the boy’s buttocks and legs with the plastic hanger. Court documents said that the middle-aged man used his “full strength” as he beat the boy, before the boy collapsed on the ground in a daze.
The man then shouted at his son, prompting his son to respond that he really did not know the answers to his school work. Furious, the boy’s father gave him two kicks before yelling “You know why you don’t know, you’re stupid!” Throwing the hanger at the boy, the father gave the child another kick before chasing him into a bedroom to hit his backside with his hands.
Hearing the boy crying out from the flat, a neighbour called the police and expressed his fears that the boy was being abused. When the boy’s mother returned home, the child told her what had happened.
The boy’s mother retrieved the footage from a surveillance camera that was installed in the home’s dining room. Footage showing the beating the boy received was played in court.
The bruised nine-year-old was admitted to the hospital. His parents are presently undergoing divorce proceedings.
While the prosecution asserted that it’s “clear that it was not done simply in a controlled manner for the purpose of discipline, but out of rage,” and asked for four months’ jail, the defense asked for probation, noting that the relationship between the father and the son has “greatly improved”.
Noting that the father has been undergoing counselling, the father’s lawyer said: “It is admitted that he lost his cool. My client is greatly remorseful. Any form of custodial sentence is going to affect what has been built up thus far between the (accused) and the son.”
District Judge Eddy Tham, however, said there was no excuse for the father’s “totally disproportionate” action. Expressing relief that the boy’s injuries had not been more serious, the judge sentenced the accused to four months jail, asserting that a message must be sent out on such violence by parents and caregivers.