A disturbing a case of child neglect and abuse is pending trial on Thursday by the Larnaca criminal court.

Particulars of the case, reported by Philenews involve accusations of physical and psychological abuse, including threats with a knife, on two young boys, aged nine and four.

A 36-year-old man is facing the charges. Among them, the abuse of the nine-year-old child, whom he allegedly locked-up in a small shed with the dog. According to the allegations the shed’s conditions were vile and the child was regularly locked up there regardless of the weather.

The man, who had been living with the children’s mother but is not the biological father, stands accused of physically assaulting the nine-year-old, with punches to the face, on at least four known occasions while additionally threatening the child with a knife in at least one incident.

The suspect also stands accused of assaulting and causing mental harm to the four-year-old.

Staff at the school attended by the nine-year-old noticed bruises on his body, which had been covered with make-up, and called the welfare office on same day. A family counsellor subsequently went to speak with the boy to investigate the circumstances.

In the first and third personal interviews with the family counsellor, the child did not disclose the abuse. During the second interview, the child initially told the counsellor the bruise was caused from a fight with his younger brother and a ball game with his cousins. Later, however, the child revealed that the appellant had instructed him to present this version of events to the authorities, so that he and the boy’s mother would not end up in prison.

The case was reported by the children’s maternal grandmother on June 14 after she noticed the large bruise on the child’s face.

Meanwhile, the children’s mother stands co-accused of all incidents, except for two cases of threat, and faces charges of child cruelty, neglect and abandonment.

Based on the indictment, the abuses happened between October 1, 2022 and June 12, 2023, during which time the appellant lived with the children’s mother.

Both the accused denied the commission of the crimes but in her last testimony the woman implicated the defendant in the first episode of violence against her nine-year-old.

The case reached the Court of Appeals when the Attorney General appealed against the decision of the Larnaca district court to release the 36-year-old under strict conditions. The prosecutor complained that there was a risk of the accused absconding from justice and repeating the same crimes.

Following an assessment of facts and of the conditions set by the first instance Court, the Court of Appeal decided that he had been rightly released.

The court in Larnaca, despite the request for pre-trial detention, released the man under a list of strict conditions, including a 100-metre restraining order and prohibition of any contact with the children, who have been living with their grandmother since the day she filed the complaint.

The accused is also prohibited from entry into the family residence and has been placed on the stop list.

Other conditions placed on the accused were a €10,000 deposit in cash or a signature guarantee for the amount from a valid guarantor, delivery of travel documents to police, and thrice-weekly presentation to the nearest police station.