Daycare owner accused of breaking baby’s arm

Daycare owner accused of breaking baby’s arm

A DAYCARE owner accused of breaking a baby’s arm has had her bid to re-open her centre refused.

Bindu Nirav Patel, who owns Little Kingdom Family Daycare in Banksia Grove, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

It has been alleged Mrs Patel caused a spiral fracture to the arm of an eight-month-old baby in her care on May 15.

According to the police prosecution’s medical report from the paediatric doctor that treated the baby, the fracture would have been caused by a twisting force to the arm.

The prosecutor said in the doctor’s opinion, a spiral fracture of the arm in someone under one year old was “highly suspicious” and “rarely happens as the result of an accident”.

“Twisting with significant force would be required for this to happen in an eight-month-old – a force more than normal everyday handling,” he said.

However, at Joondalup Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning Mrs Patel’s lawyer said they had also commissioned a medical report from a paediatric doctor who said there were “inconsistencies”.

He said the report stated there “must be some bruising on the arm if deliberate force was used to twist”.

“There were no findings of bruising or swelling,” he said.

He also said the doctor had provided a letter that showed two cases where a broken arm could be caused by a baby “rolling over itself”.

“This is a circumstantial case where no direct evidence has taken place,” he said.

“It is concerning the findings are as strong as they are: there must be some bruising or swelling.”

He said they would be filing submissions to the prosecution to discontinue the case, but in the meantime they were applying to have Mrs Patel’s bail conditions varied to allow her to re-open her daycare centre or at least to allow her to seek employment in the industry.

Mrs Patel’s lawyer said having her income taken away had put her family “in a position of financial hardship”.

He said her and her husband had mortgages on their residence and an investment property and had already been forced to pull their two young children out of special tuition to further their studies.

He also said parents who used Mrs Patel’s daycare centre were keen for her to return.

“They are aware of the allegations but all they talk about is the bond she has with their babies and how they wish to have them in her care,” he said.

He said a trial could be “many, many months away” which was a long time for the family to live on one income.

Magistrate Sandra De Maio said having viewed the two medical reports, she believed there was a strong prosecution case, with their report from the doctor who saw and examined the child, as opposed to the defence report from someone who “only had material to view”.

While she acknowledge it was a circumstantial case and Mrs Patel’s family finances had been restricted, she said there was a “significant risk to the safety of children” and no conditions she could impose would “ameliorate” it.

Mrs Patel’s application to change her bail conditions was refused.

She will return to Joondalup Magistrate’s Court on November 8 where a trial date will be allocated.

Department of Communities commissioning and sector engagement assistant director general Brad Jolly confirmed the department and the approved provider had “taken steps to prevent Mrs Patel from operating her family daycare service, pending the outcome of the charges”.