Dutchman risks 5 years in prison for repeatedly abusing Flemish toddler
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    Dutchman risks 5 years in prison for repeatedly abusing Flemish toddler

    The defendant said that it was never his intention to hurt the child or the mother. Credit: Belga

    A man in his twenties from the Netherlands risks up to five years in prison for repeatedly abusing the 2.5-year-old son of his former girlfriend.

    On 3 June, the toddler was brought to the urgent care of the AZ Groeninge hospital in the West Flanders province by the defendant himself and the child’s grandmother. The toddler was in a comatose state when he was brought in, and the doctor immediately informed the public prosecutor’s office.

    The defendant, the new boyfriend of the child’s mother, was immediately suspected, as the child was injured every time the man stayed over.

    “The man had stated that the child had fallen in the shower, but the doctor established that the injuries could not have come from a fall. Additionally, it was the third time in a short time that the toddler had been brought to the hospital with an injury. The child suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of being violently shaken and beaten. The doctor had to operate on the child immediately, and his life was in danger for more than ten days,” according to the public prosecutor, reports Het Nieuwsblad. “The accused has mistreated a defenceless child and the victim will have to bear the consequences for the rest of his life,” they added.

    Five months later, the toddler is still rehabilitating. His left arm is paralysed permanently and it is not yet clear how and if his vision will improve. The man beat and kicked his victim when they were alone, pinched him and even pulled out entire plucks of hair, according to the ad hoc guardian of the child, reports AD.

    “When the accused said ‘kaka’, the child knew that he had to be quiet or that he was going to be beaten again. At such a young age, the victim has been treated unworthily,” they added.

    The defence stressed that the defendant takes full responsibility for his actions. “He must be punished for what he has done and, at the same time, we must ensure that it never happens again. That is why we have appointed a psychiatrist to find out the cause. My client was raised very strictly and applied the same punishments that were applied to him. So it is a story of victim-becomes-perpetrator. He suffered from depression but did everything he could to show it to no one, but that was also the reason why he could sometimes explode completely,” the defence said.

    The defendant said that it was never his intention to hurt the child or the mother. “I do not understand how I could be so cruel to someone who I genuinely love. For me, the most important thing is that the little boy will recover completely,” he said, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    For the child, a compensation of €35.000 was claimed. The divorced parents of the child also claim compensation, €10,000 for the father and €12,500 for the mother.

    The verdict will take place on 23 December.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times