Judge calls father 'cowardly' for abusing children

A HERVEY Bay father has been described as "cowardly" for hitting his five-year-old son in the side of the head with a pool cue, resulting in a 5cm cut which required hospitalization to close the wound.

The 27-year-old man, who the Chronicle cannot name as it would identify the victims, appeared in Hervey Bay District Court on Wednesday, charged with assault, and assault occasioning in bodily harm in company with a weapon.

Both charges were domestic violence offences.

The court heard that in December last year, the father and his family were walking along a public road when the defendant found a pool cue and struck his five-year-old son behind the ear with it.

Crown Prosecutor Josh Hanna told the court the father said he had struck the boy because "he didn't look for cars" before walking towards the road.

"[The defendant] apologised at the time and took the boy to hospital," Mr Hanna said.

Hospital staff cleaned the wound and had to use an adhesive strip to close the 5cm cut.

Less than two months later, the man punched his seven-year-old son in the back, causing bruising, because the child "did not turn off the toilet light".

Mr Hanna highlighted the man's interstate criminal history of drug and property-related offences, as well as breaches of domestic violence orders.

The court heard the man was on parole at the time of the assaults.

The man's defence barrister Paul Rutledge said on the most recent occasions, his client informed him he did not mean to hit his children as hard as he did.

Mr Rutledge said the man had left school after grade nine, and had been using amphetamines since he was "16 or 17" years old.

While handing down the sentence, Justice John Robertson described the man's behaviour as "stupid" and "grossly immature".

"For some bizarre reason you thought it was necessary to hit [the five-year-old] over the head," Justice Robertson said.

"It was a stupid and dangerous thing to do to such a young child.

"Of the offence involving [the seven-year-old] it was a grossly immature response to a child not turning off a light...[your actions] suggest extremely cowardly behaviour and not appropriate discipline."

The man was sentenced to six months imprisonment, to be released after two months, with an operational period of two years.

*For 24-hour support  phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or MensLine on 1800 600 636, NSW's  Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the  national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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