Man stands trial accused of child cruelty after ‘FARTING in boy’s face’

Roofer Gary McKenzie, 22, has denied the prank but admitted to accidentally breaking wind in front of the boy and claimed it was ‘funny’

A man is accused of mistreating a child – by breaking wind in his face.

Roofer Gary McKenzie, 22, denied the prank but said he had once farted in front of the boy’s face accidentally, which he claimed had been ‘funny’.

Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told Teesside Crown Court that if the incident had taken place in a rugby club after the victim had drank 10 pints it might have been dismissed as horseplay.

But in McKenzie’s case it amounted to cruelty. The charge McKenzie faces states: “You wilfully ill-treated the child, namely by breaking wind in his face, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

The charge was brought contrary to section 1(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

McKenzie faces three other charges: that he punched the boy on the arm and sucked his eye whilst “play fighting” and that he held a pillow over the face of another child, which he also put down to “playing.”

Mr Abrahams told the jury that McKenzie’s acts had been “cruel and bullying.”

Describing the alleged dirty prank, he said the boy, who is under 16 and cannot be identified, had been lying down when McKenzie approached him.

He said: “The boy said that the defendant pumped in his face.

“It might be at a rugby club done to someone who had drunk 10 pints and fallen asleep that one might think of this as horseplay.

“But this was a child at the time and was highly inappropriate.”

The boy relived his ordeal in a police interview played to the court. He said: “He pumped. He was right next to me and bending down, he was wearing shorts, his shorts were right next to my face.

“I said why did you do that? and he said he did it because he wanted to be nasty.”

He said he had seen McKenzie do a similar thing to another child. He told a detective: “He pulled his pants down and pumped right on their face. I knew he had pumped because I heard the noise.”

In a police interview McKenzie denied the incident, saying he had once broken wind whilst climbing steps when the boy had been behind him with his face near his backside.

Mr Abrahams said: “He said this had been funny but denied the incident described. Of the incident involving the pillow he said he was just playing. We say this was a cruel act and that he was not just playing.”

On two different occasions McKenzie, of Beaumont Hill, Darlington, Co Durham, punched the boy on the arm and sucked his eye, which caused a red ring and then a bruise to appear on the youngster’s face, the court was told.

McKenzie denied to police he had done either of those acts, describing the actions as “disgusting and disgraceful” and something he would not do.

He denies all four charges and the trial continues.