‘A risk to the kids’

Child­care op­er­a­tor ac­cused of break­ing baby’s arm

Joondalup Times - - FRONT PAGE - Tyler Brown

A CHILD­CARE owner ac­cused of break­ing a baby’s arm has had her bid to re­open her cen­tre re­fused.

Bindu Ni­rav Pa­tel, who owns Lit­tle King­dom Fam­ily Day­care in Banksia Grove, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm.

It has been al­leged Mrs Pa­tel caused a spi­ral frac­ture to the arm of an eight­month-old baby in her care on May 15.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice pros­e­cu­tion’s med­i­cal re­port from the pae­di­atric doc­tor that treated the baby, the frac­ture would have been caused by a twist­ing force to the arm.

The pros­e­cu­tor said in the doc­tor’s opin­ion, a spi­ral frac­ture of the arm in some­one un­der one year old was “highly sus­pi­cious” and “rarely hap­pens as the re­sult of an ac­ci­dent”.

“Twist­ing with sig­nif­i­cant force would be re­quired for this to hap­pen in an eight-month-old, a force more than nor­mal everyday han­dling,” he said.

How­ever, at Joon­dalup Mag­is­trates Court this week, Mrs Pa­tel’s lawyer said they had also com­mis­sioned a med­i­cal re­port from a pae­di­atric doc­tor who said there were “in­con­sis­ten­cies”.

He said the re­port stated there “must be some bruis­ing on the arm if de­lib­er­ate force was used to twist”.

“There were no find­ings of bruis­ing or swelling,” he said.

He also said the doc­tor had pro­vided a let­ter that showed two cases where a bro­ken arm could be caused by a baby “rolling over it­self”.

“This is a cir­cum­stan­tial case where no di­rect ev­i­dence has taken place,” he said.

“It is con­cern­ing the find­ings are as strong as they are: there must be some bruis­ing or swelling.”

Mag­is­trate San­dra De Maio said hav­ing viewed the two med­i­cal reports, she be­lieved there was a strong pros­e­cu­tion case, with their re­port from the doc­tor who saw and ex­am­ined the child, as op­posed to the de­fence re­port from some­one who “only had ma­te­rial to view”.

While she ac­knowl­edge it was a cir­cum­stan­tial case and Mrs Pa­tel’s fam­ily fi­nances had been re­stricted, she said there was a “sig­nif­i­cant risk to the safety of chil­dren” and no con­di­tions she could im­pose would “ame­lio­rate” it.

Mrs Pa­tel’s lawyer said they would be fil­ing sub­mis­sions to the pros­e­cu­tion to dis­con­tinue the case, but in the mean­time they were ap­ply­ing to have Mrs Pa­tel’s bail con­di­tions var­ied to al­low her to re­open her day­care cen­tre or at least to al­low her to seek em­ploy­ment in the in­dus­try.

He said said hav­ing her in­come taken away had put her fam­ily “in a po­si­tion of fi­nan­cial hard­ship”.

Mrs Pa­tel’s lawyers said her and her hus­band had mort­gages on their res­i­dence and an in­vest­ment prop­erty, and had al­ready been forced to pull their two young chil­dren out of spe­cial tu­ition to fur­ther their stud­ies. He also said par­ents who used Mrs Pa­tel’s day­care cen­tre were keen for her to return.

“They are aware of the al­le­ga­tions but all they talk about is the bond she has with their ba­bies and how they wish to have them in her care,” he said.

He said a trial could be “many, many months away”, which was a long time for the fam­ily to live on one in­come.

Mrs Pa­tel’s ap­pli­ca­tion to change her bail con­di­tions was re­fused.

She will return to Joon­dalup Mag­is­trate’s Court on Novem­ber 8, where a trial date will be al­lo­cated.

Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties com­mis­sion­ing and sec­tor en­gage­ment as­sis­tant di­rec­tor gen­eral Brad Jolly con­firmed the depart­ment and the ap­proved provider had “taken steps to pre­vent Mrs Pa­tel from oper­at­ing her fam­ily day­care ser­vice, pend­ing the out­come of the charges”.

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