14 Jan 2011

Accused abusive father to plead not guilty

5:32 pm on 14 January 2011

The father of a child who was systematically abused has indicated he will defend charges of assault.

The girl's parents, who face 36 charges, appeared again in Waitakere District Court on Friday morning.

The father pleaded not guilty to three charges of assaulting his daughter, aged nine. His wife did not enter any plea.

Both have name suppression to protect the identity of the child.

The woman is accused of using a hammer against her daughter to cause grievous bodily harm, and tearing a toe nail and pouring salt in the wound.

Defence lawyer Joanne Wickliffe asked the court to order media not to publish any details of how the girl is progressing with her caregivers, arguing such stories create sympathy for the girl and prejudice fair trial rights.

But the judge said she would decline the request at this point.

The accused were remanded in custody until further hearings in February.