A man who left his 18-month-old boy unattended in a car while he went into a Wellington strip club in the early hours of the morning has been fined $200.
Feilding man Wayne Ricardo Schwamm, 42, pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving a child under 14 without reasonable supervision in Wellington District Court today.
Police said Schwamm left Palmerston North at about 12.30pm on April 13 and parked his car on Wellington's Courtenay Place.
He left the child in the locked car with the windows wound up for about 40 minutes before a passerby noticed and called police about 3am.
The baby was taken to hospital and police found Schwamm in the nearby Splash Club a short time later.
He was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant and later charged over leaving the child without supervision.
Defence counsel John Tannahill said Schwamm had gone to the Splash Club to pick up a friend who worked there so they could discuss a domestic matter with the boy's mother.
Schwamm had only expected to leave the child for a few minutes but discovered his friend had to work overtime.
Although he stayed for longer than intended, it was not the case that Schwamm had indulged in "fantasies of desire".
"On the surface this appears quite sinister but it is not," Mr Tannahill said.
Judge Michael Behrens QC questioned whether Schwamm could have taken the child into the bar with him, to which Mr Tannahill replied his client was concerned about taking his child into a licensed premise.
Schwamm had already been punished by media coverage of the incident, including a newspaper report which named him before his appearance today, Mr Tannahill said.
Judge Behrens fined Schwamm $200 and ordered him to pay $130 court costs.
The charge carries a maximum fine of $2000.
Schwamm will appear in Palmerston North District Court on May 3 on a charge of common assault relating to a domestic incident with the boy's mother.
He was due to appear on the charge last Monday but mistakenly believed he was due in court today, Mr Tannahill said.
Schwamm would not comment to the throng of media gathered outside court.