Warrant issued for man alleged to have kicked toddler

A WARRANT has been issued for the arrest of a former Camperdown man who allegedly kicked a two-year-old toddler to the ribs and pulled out his hair.

A magistrate issued the warrant after Benjamin James Price, 20, of Longmore Street,  failed to appear in court as ordered yesterday.

Price pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court in mid-February to unlawful assault, recklessly causing injury, assault by kicking and driving offences.

He was placed on a 12-month community corrections order, received another suspended jail sentence and lost his driver’s licence for six months.

Victorian chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen ordered Price reattend court yesterday for judicial monitoring.

However, solicitor Xavier Farrelly told the magistrate he talked to his client yesterday morning but Price was running late and the hearing was temporarily adjourned.

Further attempts to contact Price proved fruitless and Mr Lauritsen issued a warrant for his arrest.

Price was charged with twice assaulting the two-year-old boy and he was caught driving without a licence the day after receiving a suspended jail sentence in court.

Mr Lauritsen previously said after the resolved contest mention hearing that by far the most serious allegation was that Price kicked the child and it was clear the accused had an anger problem.

He said it was fortunate the child was not seriously injured. 

Police said Price and the boy’s mother were previously in a relationship and in October 2012 Price was driving with her from Broadford to Melbourne with her son, who was in a rear car seat.

The toddler was crying and making noise and Price allegedly reached over and pulled his hair so hard some was pulled from his head.

Police alleged Price was at a Portland home drinking bourbon three days later when he told the toddler to stop looking at him, then ripped off the boy’s nappy and slapped him to the buttocks, causing bruising and scratches, and kicked him to the ribs, leaving the child shaking and crying. 

The incident was reported to police and other services. A doctor found the toddler had suffered multiple bruises, some consistent with blunt-force trauma.

Solicitor Jonathan Makary said his client had a mild intellectual disability, denied kicking the child and had stopped using alcohol and drugs.

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