Mother's denial over battered newborn

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am

Injuries not accidental, doctor tells court

A 20-year-old unmarried mother has said she did not abuse her baby son, as a court heard he had suffered bone fractures, multiple scratch or bite marks, and bruises all over his body.

Amy Cheung Yi-lan, who was unemployed, pleaded not guilty in the District Court yesterday to one charge of child abuse by deliberate ill treatment or neglect, and an alternative count of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutor Walter Lau told Deputy Judge Ada Yim Shun-yee that the boy, born in September last year, was found to be suffering the injuries on November 16 when Cheung and her mother, Yu Choi-kuen, took him to hospital.

The injuries were believed to have been inflicted at Cheung's home in Hoi Tai Street, North Point, where she lived with her parents and elder sister.

The boy was first treated at St Paul's Hospital before he was transferred to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital the same day.

Chan Sin-hang, of the hospital's department of paediatrics and adolescent medicine, told the court: 'Those injuries could not possibly have been caused by normal handling of a baby or by accident.'

Dr Chan said the boy had bruises all over his body, including his abdomen, thigh and the back of his torso. She also saw abrasions on the boy's right hand.

'These injuries could be caused by scratching or biting,' she said. 'They are likely to be inflicted by a tiny sharp thing slashing on his skin.'

An X-ray revealed that the boy had suffered fractures of his right ribs and right collarbone.

'The fracture in his ribs could not have been caused by accident unless it was very serious one, like a car crash or a fall from a great height, as very great force is required to cause this kind of injury.'

She said the boy would have suffered great pain from the injuries and movement of the right side of his body would have been affected.

But the court heard that the boy had recovered, although some scars were still visible.

In his opening address, Mr Lau said Cheung, who was arrested on December 6, and her mother were responsible for the baby's care.

The father, Tam Hon-wa, did not live with the family and visited Cheung once a week.

In February, a consultant in forensic dentistry compared casts made from the teeth of Cheung, Ms Yu and Mr Tam with the bite marks on the boy, and analysis showed that it matched Cheung's.

Dentist Leung Ka-kui is expected to give evidence today.