Watery hell: Man accused of scalding baby in bath had history of domestic violence

A MAN accused of deliberately scalding a child in a bath was on a suspended jail sentence for domestic violence assault.

The 23-year-old, who cannot be named, showed no emotion on Wednesday when he appeared in Dubbo Local Court via video link from Wellington Correctional Centre.

The man did not enter a plea to the strictly indictable charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold was told the accused had a history of violence on his partner.

He had two breaches of bail on his criminal record and warrants had been issued for his arrest in the past.

“This offence involved a member of his household,” a prosecutor from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said.

“There are concerns about the protection of the child and mother and possible interference with witnesses.

“(If granted bail) there is some doubt about whether he would appear in court.”

The DPP said the man had made partial admissions during a (crime scene) walk-though conducted by police.

“He was the only adult present at the home,” the prosecutor said.

“He admitted partly filling the bath with hot water only. He claims he intended to have a bath.

“He says a child aged two years and 11 months was playing outside.

“(The man alleges) the child came in, opened a closed bathroom door, got out of his clothes, left them outside the bathroom door and got into the bath himself.

“(The man) heard screaming and found (the child) sitting on the bathroom floor with skin coming off the sole of one foot.

“The prosecution says he immersed the child in water. We rely on medical reports. Bail should be refused.”

The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) made lengthy submissions for the man to be released from jail.

“His parents are sitting in the public gallery,” the ALS said.

“They are willing to have him reside with them at Nyngan. They would be prepared to offer $5000 bail surety without security.

“There is no doubt that the offence is serious, but the general right to be at liberty is retained.

“This matter is entirely circumstantial. Influences can be drawn to guilt and innocence.”

WHEN THE STORY BROKE: ACCUSED IN CUSTODY AFTER TODDLER SUFFERS BURNS IN BATH

The ALS said the man could to report to police twice a day, seven days a week. He was prepared to be subject to a curfew or house arrest and would not come within 50km of Dubbo.

“A stringent apprehended violence order is already in place preventing contact with the mother,” the ALS said.

Magistrate Eckhold said bail was not about punishment.

“It is about whether he would turn up to court,” the magistrate said.

“It is a serious charge and his criminal history does him no favour.

“I see a strong connection between failing to comply with bonds and difficulty complying with bail conditions.

“If convicted, he is going to jail for a long time. He is on a suspended sentence for domestic violence. I am not satisfied the matter is suitable for bail.”

Bail was formally refused.

The man’s parents appeared upset when they realised their son would not be released from jail.

The charge was adjourned to May 14.

The man was arrested last week following an investigation by Dubbo detectives attached to the Child Abuse Squad.

Documents tendered to the court said the child suffered burns to 17 per cent of his body following an incident at a Dubbo home on February 6.

The child was treated at Dubbo hospital and airlifted to Sydney for specialist care at Westmead Children’s Hospital.

He required skin grafting to the tops of his feet and shins. Acute care involved fluid resuscitation, blood transfusions and frequent general anaesthetics for the changing of burns dressings.

The court was told the child would have permanent scarring and require “ongoing management”.

The child was placed into the care of the Department of Family and Community Services following his discharge from hospital.

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