Five-month-old's skull fractured in attack, court told

By Edward Gay

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

By the time she was five-months-old, baby Jhia had been subjected to abuse that caused bleeding on her brain as well as broken arms, legs and ribs, a court has been told.

Grim x-rays were shown at the High Court at Auckland today where the partner of Jhia's mother is on trial.

Polash Kabhir, 19, has denied two charges of causing grievous bodily harm against Jhia.

He has also denied a charge of assaulting Jhia's mother, Shannon Rolleston, by grabbing her by the throat.

Crown prosecutor Sam Wimsett said in his opening address to the jurors that Jhia was just five-months-old when she was taken to hospital with a string of injuries that included a subdural haematoma and broken bones.

He said Kabhir had thrown the baby at her cot, shaken her and on more than one occasion had punched her.

"What the Crown says is there is more than one act of violence against Jhia.''

Starship Hospital radiologist Dr Russell Metcalfe took the jurors through a series of x-rays taken in October 2010. The images showed broken bones in the child's legs and arms. She also had a 7cm fracture in her skull.

"That is quite a lot in a little infant. A baby's head is a lot smaller than ours. It would actually be impressive if you had a 7cm fracture in an adult.''

Dr Metcalfe said seven of baby Jhia's ribs had also been broken in the previous three weeks.

He said the force required to break Jhia's ribs would be comparable to a high-speed car crash or a fall from a "great height''.

"Even from those [incidents], we don't see rib fractures.''

He said he believed Jhia had been picked up and "squeezed quite forcibly''.

Earlier, Mr Wimsett said Jhia was born eight weeks premature and spent her first two months in hospital.

After a short stay with Kabhir's parents, Kabhir, Ms Rolleston and the baby moved into a two bedroom flat that they shared with two of Ms Rolleston's teenage brothers and a sister.

He said the Mt Wellington flat is where Jhia was abused.

Mr Wimsett said the Crown would call medical experts, police and members of baby Jhia's family to give evidence.

He said the Crown was relying on Ms Rolleston's evidence to "point the finger'' at Kabhir when she enters the witness box tomorrow.

Kabhir's lawyer Peter Davey reminded the jury that they had only heard one side of the story, and asked them to keep an open mind. He said his client denied harming Jhia or her mother.

The trial is set down for two weeks.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 18 Sep 2014 16:15:41 Processing Time: 528ms