A former children’s home worker has pleaded guilty to assaulting a two-year-boy by grabbing his hair and pushing his head against a wall.
Barbara Heung, a 46-year-old former employee of the Children’s Residential Home, appeared at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts before Acting Principal Magistrate Peony Wong on Thursday.
Heung was the first defendant to plead guilty among the 27 people charged over a child abuse scandal at the home in Mong Kok.
According to the prosecution, Heung began working for the Children’s Residential Home in 1996. She completed an accredited training course in July 1999, and became a registered childcare supervisor in August that year.
Prosecutors said CCTV footage showed that Heung “intentionally attacked” “B,” a two-year-old boy in the care home, on November 30 and December 17 last year.
In the first occasion, Heung was seen grabbing the boy’s hair with her right hand, and pulling the boy’s head with her left hand. The boy attempted to resist by covering his head with his hands.
On the second occasion, Heung was seen pushing the boy’s head against a wall in the bathroom and the two-year-old’s head bounced back.
Heung’s lawyer said the 46-year-old was trying to stop B from hurting another child on the first occasion, and said she only grabbed but did not pull on the toddler’s hair.
The lawyer said that Heung was trying to get B to finish using the bathroom more quickly on the second occasion, and the child did not cry after having his head pushed against the wall.
The former worker was said to be remorseful for what she had done, and was willing to apologise and pay compensation to B if allowed. She also admitted she had been unprofessional and reckless.
The lawyer said that because of the incident, Heung was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and depression. Since she was fired in January, she had become a volunteer in two organisations in hopes of compensating society.
The magistrate adjourned the case for sentencing to June 22, and sought reports on a possible community service order and the defendant’s background, but said any type of punishment was still possible.
Nine other defendants who also appeared in court on Thursday had their cases adjourned to July 8 and August 4. The remainder will appear in the District Court on June 23.
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