A couple charged with manslaughter after a six-year-old boy died following a ‘slapping therapy workshop’ have pleaded not guilty in court.
In March 2017 we originally shared that, Geoff Fenton, 56, and wife Lily, 41, from Sydney, were arrested on Wednesday two years after the boy was found unconscious in April 2015.
Police say the couple took the child to a self-healing conference in Hurstville, New South Wales, between April 22 and 28 in 2015.
Just before 10pm on April 28, emergency services were called to a nearby hotel after reports the boy had been found unconscious, reports Daily Mail.
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Paramedics attended and performed CPR, but the child died shortly afterwards.
Officers attached to St George Local Area Command established a crime scene and launched an investigation.
Following two years of investigations, police attended a home in Prospect, a suburb of Sydney, on Wednesday and arrested the couple.
Both were taken to Blacktown Police Station where they were charged with manslaughter.
Lily Fenton who was granted conditional bail is due to appear at Blacktown Local Court on Wednesday.
Geoff Fenton was granted conditional bail and is due to appear at Penrith Local Court on Friday May 12, 2017.
Slapping therapy is a Chinese alternative medicine which claims to be able to cure patients by repeatedly hitting them, leaving them covered in bruises.
The slapping and stretching of muscles clears meridians in the body allowing Qi, or life force, to flow more easily.
According to practitioners, this can cure a range of ailments including cancer and hypertension.
Inquiries into the incident are continuing and police are still looking to speak to a number of people.
Update November 2018
The young, diabetic boy vomited regularly and was forced to fast for three days before his death during a “radical” Chinese slapping and stretching therapy workshop in Sydney, a jury has heard.
The boy’s mother, father and grandmother, and Chinese self-help practitioner Hong Chi Xiao have all pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to the manslaughter of the six-year-old boy in April 2015, reports 9 news.
The Crown alleges all four accused breached the duty of care they owed the child through gross negligence.
Crown prosecutor Sharon Harris told a jury in the Downing Centre District Court on Wednesday the boy’s last insulin injection to treat his type one diabetes came on the first day of the week-long workshop.
The child was then forced to consume nothing but water or a ginger drink on days three, four and five.
During the workshop, the boy was subjected to “a radical treatment” called paida lajin that involved slapping and stretching the body.
Ms Harris said Xiao instructed the family to stop the regular blood glucose tests and insulin injections and said the boy’s increasing vomiting showed toxins were leaving his body.
Ms Harris said, the vomiting of black and yellow substances and other symptoms were “obvious signs of diabetic ketoacidosis”, which the boy died of on the sixth night.
“He was pushed around in a stroller on the final day because he couldn’t walk,” she said.
Ms Harris said Xiao had claimed in a seminar before the start of the workshop the treatment “activated the body’s self-healing power and unlocked the body’s energy channels” and was capable of curing cancer and diabetes.
“Xiao was promoting his methods as superior to conventional Western medicine,” she said.
The mother’s barrister, Ragni Mathur, argued her client wasn’t some “alternative medicine fanatic” and had treated her son’s diabetes exactly as a Sydney hospital had instructed.
Ms Mathur and the grandmother’s barrister argued their client believed Xiao was a doctor.
“This is about trust, about misplaced trust and whether misplaced trust in all the circumstances amounts to manslaughter,” Ms Mathur said.
The trial before Judge David Arnott is expected to last six weeks.
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