Criminal Law News & Current Affairs
Canberra childcare workers to face court on assault charges
Four Canberra childcare workers will face court over allegations of physical abuse on children as young as one.
It is understood police are also considering laying charges of failing to report against a fifth staff member of the northside centre.
The four staff members were this week issued with summons, and will appear in the ACT Magistrates Court in November.
Three of the workers will face a combined 13 allegations of assault dating back to 2014.
It is unknown what charges the fourth former staff member will face.
It is understood that the staff have been stood down or left the organisation since the alleged abuse.
Ben Aulich and Associates partner Peter Woodhouse, who is defending three of the staff members, indicated his clients would fight the charges in court.
“My clients continue to deny any wrongdoing,” Mr Woodhouse said.
“They will be entering pleas of not guilty when their matters are first before the court in November, and defending them vigorously.
“It is inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Reports staff members at Northside Community Services’ Civic Early Childhood Centre used excessive physical force on children in their care surfaced in April this year, one year after the abuse is believed to have happened.
Last month, an ACT Policing spokesperson confirmed it had launched investigation into the alleged physical abuse of up 20 children aged between one and four years at the centre last year.
The allegations are understood to have come to light when new management took over the centre.
The centre’s board said it would commission an independent audit into the accreditation and training of its staff in the near future.
The centre has about 20 staff and up to 70 students.
Last month, the centre’s chief executive Simon Rosenberg told media that new centre management took the allegations extremely when they first raised.
He said they immediately contacted police, parents, Care and Protection, and the ACT Education Directorate.
“We’ve been working very closely with the police and other authorities, we wanted to be as cooperative and open as possible to ensure the investigations happened efficiently and we got to the bottom of the facts,” Mr Rosenberg said.
Credit: Michael Inman and Christopher Knaus with Katie Burgess, Canberra Times