Months of assaults including slaps, punches, and kicks on a seven-year-old boy have brought a sentence of community detention and 150 hours of community work for a 37-year-old Christchurch man.
The victim was left “a confused and frightened young boy”, according to a psychologist’s report to the Christchurch District Court ahead of the sentencing of Samuel David Anderson, a driver, from Broomfield.
Anderson will be on community detention for four months and supervision for nine months, when he must attend a family violence programme and a parenting course as directed.
The boy was not his son but lived at the same address with his own father. Judge John Strettell noted that the result of the series of the incidents was that the boy had to be moved away from his father at the address because the child could not stay at the household.
Anderson pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting the child on February 5, and during April, and a representative charge of a series of assaults between January and April.
Defence counsel Paul Johnson said Anderson was very remorseful, and had pleaded guilty immediately. He had no previous convictions for violence and the offending was “an aberration”.
“He simply lost the plot with the young victim’s behaviour,” said Mr Johnson.
Judge Strettell said Anderson became frustrated and angry with the child over an incident on a trampoline on February 5, and held him by the clothing, shouted at him, squeezed his nose, and slapped him once on the head. He slapped him again in a similar incident on April 15. The child received minor injuries to his forehead, but no treatment was needed.
The police investigation revealed there had been regular and sustained assaults since January, accompanied by “verbal outbursts”.
Anderson would get the boy to stand in front of him as he sat in a chair. He told the boy to look him in the eye and if he looked away Anderson would punch or slap him on the head, body, face and arms. He would use enough force to make a child fall over and cry.
He would also give the child chores to do. Later in the day he would make him stand in front of him when he asked about the chores. When the boy replied, “I don’t know,” when asked about what he had been told to do, Anderson would slap or punch him.
On other occasions he would slap the boy on his bottom or legs. The child received bruising on his chest, arms, and legs.
Anderson told the police he had become frustrated by the child’s behaviour and had “lost control and overstepped the mark”. He admitted yelling obscenities at the boy, and at other children who annoyed him.
He admitted smacking and kicking him several times, causing him to cry out.
Judge Strettell said the offending would have undoubtedly had a serious and adverse effect on the boy. He described it as a breach of a relationship of trust. The behaviour “might barely have been accepted as a community standard 50 years ago, but certainly not now.”
It was serious, premeditated and prolonged violent conduct.
“You went right over the top and treated this child in a way that was not only highly inappropriate but was clearly criminal,” said the judge.
He noted that Anderson was remorseful and had already begun attending counselling.