The jury set to decide the fate of the daycare teacher accused of assaulting children has to rely on a sole witness who couldn't even get the date right, the defence says.
But the prosecution says the evidence is reliable and backed up by two other workers and the woman's former boss.
Lynn Euphemia Abraham, 59, is defending 11 charges against nine children, all under 5, in a jury trial at the Auckland District Court this week.
The alleged offending occurred at the Bright Minds Daycare Centre in St Johns from 2011 and continued through until last May.
This afternoon the Crown and defence gave their closing statements to the 12 jurors.
Prosecutor Brian Dickey asked the jury to look beyond former staff member Jennifer Wong's "emotional state" and that she "effectively cried for a day".
They should judge her for what she had to say, he said.
Wong was the Crown's main witness and got very upset while giving evidence, often bursting into tears and needing to be excused from the courtroom.
Dickey said Wong could have exaggerated the allegations against Abraham but instead her evidence was consistent.
"She wasn't saying these children were perfect and this crazy lady beat them up."
Under cross-examination Wong didn't change or retract any of her account about what happened.
"Consistency is a pretty good sign of accuracy," Dickey said.
Wong recounted one incident where she saw Abraham allegedly smack a boy on the hand and when he continued to cry, she hit him on the bottom and said he had "nothing to cry about".
Dickey said that behaviour was not okay in New Zealand childcare centres and didn't fall under the Section 59 provision in the Crimes Act that a person in the place of a parent could use force if it was justified.
"You don't get to smack kids to give them something to cry about, that's gratuitous."
But in fact, Abraham's evidence was the alleged incidents never happened and so it was "illogical" to try use the Section 59 "excuse", Dickey said.
On the stand, the manager testified she never taped a girl's mouth shut or force-fed children and only "tapped" them on the hands when they misbehaved.
The prosecutor told the court Wong's account was supported by two other workers at the Bright Minds centre who said they saw Abraham smack children's hands or force-feed children.
The manager's former boss gave evidence Abraham called her to tell her about the incident and used the words "washed out" at which point she stopped her and questioned her actions.
Dickey told the court Santosh Vermula said she was "shocked" that Abraham said she'd washed a boy's mouth with soap because he'd called a staff member a "stupid b****".
Vermula wouldn't have been shocked if she was just wiping it clean, which was Abraham's defence, the prosecutor said.
The staff members also detailed an incident where Abraham "fought" with a 2-year-old after she hit the girl and the child hit back.
The parents who gave evidence for the defence that Abraham was "firm but fair" and the centre was a happy place were irrelevant, said Dickey, because they didn't actually witness the alleged offending.
Defence lawyer Graeme Newell said Abraham wasn't relying on Section 59, rather that the offending "simply didn't happen".
In relation to the charge of taping a girl's mouth shut in 2012, the lawyer said the only evidence came from "a single witness in what was a very busy childcare centre populated by a number of adults".
And when Wong gave evidence, she changed the year she believed it happened three times while the date in the details of the charge listed a fourth.
"Can you reply upon the evidence on that sole witness in accepting that charge?," Newell asked the jury.
No other teachers gave evidence about that incident which lead to confusion and a lack of evidence and corroboration.
"Therefore the evidence leaves you in a state of doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty."
Abraham denied ever force-feeding children - she admitted only helping to feed them and putting her hand over their mouths to prevent them spitting it out at her, Newell said.
He reminded the jurors no one actually saw Abraham wash the boy's mouth out with soap.
The manager said she took him to the bathroom to clean his hands and face and never washed inside his mouth.
He asked whether the jury could be sure when deciding the assault charges relating to smacking that the degree of force was unreasonable in the circumstances.
"Or are you left in a state of doubt?"
Judge June Jelas will sum up the case to the jury tomorrow morning before sending them to consider their verdict.