Brisbane women get bail despite alleged ‘vile cruelty’ to 5-year-old child

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A Queensland woman accused of repeatedly hitting an already traumatized five-year-old girl with a wooden spoon ‘because she wanted to’ has been released on bail.

Rebecca Beverly Naawi, 43, has been charged with child cruelty and assault after subjecting the young girl in her care to “deplorable conduct” for several months, a court has heard.

The child’s mother left the girl with Naawi in January 2022 after the five-year-old suffered a “traumatic incident”, prosecutor Eddie Fraser said.

When the toddler was returned to her mother following child safety services concerns four months later, she was covered in bruises, scars and lesions, the court heard.

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The girl suffered severe weight loss, with her clothes shrinking from a size seven to four, the Brisbane Magistrates Court heard. Her head had been shaved and she complained of abdominal pain, “walking on an incline”, the court heard.

“The alleged circumstances which have occurred … can be described as vile, cruel, prolonged and deplorable conduct – there is a serious breach of trust,” Mr Fraser said.

The child complained that Naawi repeatedly assaulted her with the spoon and repeatedly with her hand, at one point “for a long time on her back”, the court heard.

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Mr Fraser said when asked by the child why she was being hit, Naawi replied ‘because she wanted to’.

“Vile, Cruel, Extended”

On one occasion, the girl said that Naawi had threatened to “beat her all day”.

“For what purpose? Because the defendant felt like it, it will be alleged,” Mr Fraser said.

Naawi was also accused of failing to provide adequate food and medical care to the girl.

Mr Fraser said the girl was now healthy and had long hair.

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But he opposed bail, saying Naawi posed an unacceptable risk of committing further offences.

The court heard that Naawi was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 2011 for cruelty to children.

Magistrate Stephen Courtney said the allegations were “serious and concerning to say the least”. However, Naawi was released on bail under strict conditions.

She is charged with cruelty to children under 16 and five counts of assault causing bodily harm.

The case was adjourned to July 11.

-PAA

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