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Sydney childcare worker charged with assault on boy with Down syndrome

Jennifer Helen Wood
Photo: AAP

Jennifer Helen Wood, 31, a Sydney daycare worker, is accused of bounding the hands of a four year old boy with Down syndrome.

Wood denies the allegations and asked the court to have the matter addressed under the Mental Health Act due to several mental health disorders including depression and anxiety.

The Crown alleges Wood was working at the Sydney child care centre in 2017 when she bound the hands of the boy, then aged four, on two occasions.

The first occurrence, Wood allegedly bound the boy’s hands in front of him with duct tape before laughing at him.
When allegedly confronted by witnesses, she said “it was just a joke”.

“Evidently Ms. Wood thought it was very funny at the time (as) she was laughing,” magistrate Julie Huber told the court.

On the second occurrence, Wood allegedly tied the boy’s wrists with shoelaces and told him to try to free himself.

Wood was dismissed from her child care job in November 2020, around the time she was charged.

Defence lawyer Catherine Newman argued that Wood had “long-standing mental health issues that remain largely untreated” and applied for the matter to considered under the Mental Health Act.

But magistrate Huber dismissed the Mental Health Act application, stating Wood’s mental health reports did not show a clear link between her mental illness and the alleged offense.

The case will now be laid out in court, with the Crown and defence presenting six witnesses each.

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