Diabetic six-year-old died undergoing slapping therapy, Sydney court hears
A diabetic six-year-old boy who died while undergoing alternative slapping and stretching therapy was unable to walk and vomited regularly in his final days, a Sydney jury has heard.
The boy’s mother, father and grandmother, and Chinese “healer” Hong Chi Xiao, have all pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of the boy, who died in a Sydney hotel in April 2016, six days into a week-long healing workshop run by Xiao.
Crown prosecutor Sharon Harris told a New South Wales district court jury on Wednesday the child’s family members, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stopped administering his insulin during the workshop.
In opening submissions, Harris said Xiao told participants ahead of the workshop that slapping and stretching of the body “activated the body’s self-healing power and unlocked the body’s energy channels”. Such treatment, termed paida lajin, could heal cancer, Parkinson’s disease and both types of diabetes, Xiao claimed, according to the crown.
“If you take insulin, that is not healing, that is called drug addiction,” Harris said Xiao had instructed.
Harris said Xiao instructed the mother to stop her son’s insulin injections and, as the boy showed signs of the diabetic ketoacidosis that eventually killed him, that the vomiting of black and yellow substances was good for him.
In his final days, the boy vomited repeatedly, his eyes were becoming yellow, his feet were cold and he was wheeled around in a pram because he could not walk, prosecutors allege.
Both the mother and grandmother argue they thought Xiao was a doctor and therefore did not seek medical treatment or inject insulin.
The mother wasn’t some “alternative medicine fanatic” and was looking for other treatments rather than a cure for diabetes, her lawyer told the jury.
The father’s lawyer asked the jury to consider over the six-week trial how much the father knew about his son’s condition and whether a duty-of-care breach amounted to gross criminal negligence.
Xiao’s lawyer will address the jury later on Wednesday.
The trial continues.
The diabetic boy’s mother and grandmother argue they thought Hong Chi Xiao was a doctor.