A childcare teacher has been found guilty of smacking children, force-feeding them and washing a boy's mouth out with soap but was acquitted of taping a girl's mouth shut.
A jury this afternoon convicted Lynn Abraham, 59, on 10 assault charges against nine children, all under 5, at a St Johns daycare centre from 2011 until May last year.
The only charge Abraham wasn't convicted on was that she taped a girl's mouth for being noisy.
As the verdicts were read, she stood quietly in the dock and didn't react.
During a jury trial at the Auckland District Court this week, the court heard from three other teachers and Abraham's former boss.
One teacher, Jennifer Wong, said Abraham smacked 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".
Prosecutor Brian 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."
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.
Abraham denied she washed inside the boy's mouth and instead wiped outside it to "wash away the bad words".
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.
They said she force-fed children with spoons and held their mouths shut to make them chew.
Abraham was remanded on bail until sentencing in July.