The father of a five-month-old baby boy allegedly squeezed him and inflicted other forms of physical assault on the pretext of massaging him so the child would become strong, the toddler's mother told a court.
At the conclusion of the Crown case in the High Court at Whangārei, the 32-year-old woman - who has name suppression - today chose to give evidence in the judge-alone trial that started last week.
She is facing four charges of ill-treatment of a child, one of assault with a weapon and one of administering cannabis to a person under 18.
Justice Gerard van Bohemen declined defence lawyer Wayne McKean's application for the dismissal of the charge of ill-treatment or neglect of a child by conduct that impaired the toddler's breathing be dismissed. He argued there was no medical evidence to support that charge.
Emergency services were called to a house in Raumanga on the night of August 22, 2019.
The baby died at the scene.
The mother told the court yesterday she would take her baby away from her partner when the latter become "rough" and the five-month-old would cry.
She claims she saw her partner squeezing the baby with his knuckles on both sides of his ribs and on top of his head, slapped him on his forehead and mainly around the back of his head.
On one occasion, she said the baby's father held the baby then dropped him onto the carpet in the lounge which resulted in the child fainting.
"I then came to the realisation that he tried to strangle him. I saw his face change so I picked him up, held him in my arms, walked towards the kitchen, and tried to massage him."
She then returned to her partner and asked him what he was doing.
"He burst out laughing and said, 'Don't worry, all I am trying to do is to massage him to make him strong'."
The mother said her partner also threw him up and caught him and held him by the underarm and swung him between the legs.
Initially, she said, the child looked happy but there came a point when he became scared of what his father was doing to him and started crying.
The couple met while working together in Australia before moving to Auckland and then to Whangārei.
The trial continues.