Man who kicked infant son in stomach jailed for two years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 July, 2009, 12:00am

A jobless man who left his three-year-old son in critical condition after kicking him in the stomach during a row with his wife was jailed for two years yesterday.

The boy was so badly hurt that he needed emergency surgery. Doctors administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They found blood in his stool, a 3mm opening in his small intestine, a 4mm cut in his liver, and blood in his abdominal cavity.

His father told doctors the boy had fallen out of bed. In the District Court, the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

'You fought over a small issue of who would get to sleep,' Judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi said. 'Not only should you not hurt your pregnant wife, but you cannot turn your anger towards an innocent, young child.'

On December 20, both the man and his wife wanted to take a nap, but the man's wife maintained he should watch the child while she slept, prosecutor Franco Kuan said. The man pushed her off the bed in anger.

In retaliation she switched on the television and all the lights in the flat.

When the boy went to his mother, who was sitting on the floor, the man rushed over and kicked him in the stomach. The boy fell over, but his father kicked his stomach again four or five times. The woman took her son to a neighbouring relative's flat. That afternoon she noticed the boy panting, but it was not until several hours later that the man became worried and took him to Tuen Mun Hospital. Doctors initially worried that the boy would face medical problems in future but he received a clean bill of health in his latest medical report, Mr Kuan said.

The man told the court that his regular household duties included changing his son's diapers, bathing him and cleaning furniture, and that on the day in question he was tired because he had to handle some matters when he took his son to kindergarten. Judge Chan did not accept this as mitigation. 'You're a man, you're a husband, you don't work, and you're on social welfare. I believe that every married man has to do these duties,' he said.

The man and his wife, also unemployed, were previously convicted of a similar charge after police found their elder son, five, bound and with injuries at their flat in 2006. Both boys have been placed in foster care. The couple had a baby girl last year. The parents and the child have not been named, to protect their identities.