1493074036306 - Toddler puncher jailed for 18 months

Toddler puncher jailed for 18 months

A man who punched a three-year-old child in the head in a fit of rage has been jailed for 18 months.

Jermaine Larson Neil Tuau was heard to mutter an expletive when Judge Merelina Burnett sentenced him in the Hamilton District Court on Monday.

Tuau, 33, was appearing via audio-visual link from prison, on one charge of assault on a child, and three charges of breach of protection orders.

The assault happened on June 5 last year, at a home in the Christchurch suburb of Wainoni – and just a few days after the most recent of the protection orders had been issued against him.

According to the police summary of facts, the trouble started around 6.30am that day. Some of the children in the household had been unwell, and Tuau evidently found this situation stressful.

His stress manifested in the form of yelling abusive things at his children and their mother, slamming doors and kicking walls.

At 5.30pm the violence escalated. Tuau was sitting in a bedroom with a three-year-old child, when he suddenly punched the toddler in the head with a closed fist.

The impact made an audible smacking sound and the blow caused the child’s head to subsequently hit the solid end of the bed the pair were sitting on.

Afterward, he continued to yell abuse at the woman and her children.

The police were called. Tuau told them he had not punched the child, but had only pushed him or her.

The police summary does not record the gender of the youngster who was struck.

Judge Burnett said it was standard behaviour for Tuau to become upset and abusive if his children were not behaving.

Police had been called to 36 family violence incidents he was involved in between 2005 and 2016 – nine of these occurring last year.

A pre-sentence report had assessed him as lacking genuine remorse and noted that he blamed his partner for the discord.

Judge Burnett took a starting point of 12 months imprisonment, but added a big increase for the breaches of protection orders.

After factoring in Tuau’s guilty pleas, she came to an end sentence of 18 months in jail.