A MAN has been found guilty of battering two young boys with a stick when they misbehaved or wet the bed.
Mohammed Zulkernain was said to have left one of the boy’s bloodied after beating the pair with the wooden stick at his home in South Queesferry.
Zulkernain, 57, was also alleged to have plunged the boys into a barrel of freezing cold water before their bedtime and keeping them in freezing temperatures by keeping the windows of his home open all night.
After hearing evidence from both boys and Zulkernain during the trial on Monday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Frank Crowe cleared him of two offences of wilfully exposing the children to unnecessary suffering by instructing them to bathe in the barrel and failing to provide them with warm and dry clothing.
Sheriff Crowe said the whole case was “a very sad state of affairs”, and found Zulkernain guilty of attacking the boys with the stick.
Zulkernain was in charge of the boys at his home in South Queensferry when the abuse took place on various occasions between January 1 and December 15, 2015.
The court heard from the youngest boy, who was just nine years old at the time of the assaults, who said he was struck with the large stick “on the legs a lot of times”.
The boy said: “If I wet the bed he would hit me with the stick. Then he would just shut the door and go away. I was scared and hid it [wetting the bed] but he got angry and hit us with the stick very hard.”
The boy, now 11, told the court both he and the other child would be plunged into a large blue barrel of freezing cold water before they went to bed.
He added: “I hid my frustrations [about getting in the water] as I didn’t want to make him angry as I didn’t want to keep getting hit.”
The boy said Zulkernain would also strike him with the stick when the boys had been “naughty” and on one occasion he witnessed the older boy bleeding from the nose following a beating from the thug carer.
He added: “I don’t see why you should hit someone just because they have been naughty.”
The older boy, who was 10 at the time of the stick assaults, told the court Zulkernain’s house was “dirty, smelly and messy” and he didn’t enjoy staying there overnight.
The older boy, now 12, also confirmed Zulkernain would hit him with “a cricket bat-length stick” on the lower back.
Zulkernain, who now lives in Slough, Berkshire, denied all the allegations and said the barrel of cold water was good for the boy’s health and that he only did it in the summer months.
The unemployed removal worker admitted to the court he had lightly struck the boys with “a plastic sand spade” a few years previously but denied striking them with a large stick if they misbehaved during stays at his home during 2015.
In finding Zulkernain guilty of two counts of assault, Sheriff Crowe said: “This is a very sad state of affairs but I have found you guilty of assaulting these two boys and fortunately there was no physical injury.
“In all the circumstances no further punishment is appropriate here.”