A JURY has cleared a Sheffield man of disciplining a three-year old child by shutting her in a deep freezer - but found him guilty of hitting an older girl with a sandal.
Mohammed Altaf Hussain, aged 48, of Staniforth Road, Darnall, was accused of seven counts of cruelty to children and one charge of causing aggravated bodily harm to an adult.
He was accused of hitting three girls and a boy with a stick, a coat hanger and his open palm, and of putting a tiny girl in a freezer because she was naughty.
The restaurant worker denied all the charges throughout the case - and argued a key witness had made up the allegations in a dispute over money.
After a three-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court a jury of seven women and five men unanimously cleared Hussain of all the cruelty charges and of one count of assault against an adult.
He was convicted of a single, lesser, charge of battery for hitting a 10-year-old girl with a slipper.
Judge Robert Moore QC had instructed members of the jury to use the battery charge only if they thought the offence was not “well in excess of what was reasonable” and if they considered that Hussain had not thought the offence could cause injury to the girl’s health.
The judge adjourned sentencing for a month for a report to be compiled.
He said: “It seems to me the jury has decided this was a case of inappropriate disciplining on one occasion.”
He told Hussain: “You have been convicted on one count when, on the jury’s verdict, you went over the top when hitting a child with a sandal.”
The judge said Hussain had been convicted of a “minor offence” and said he would seek advice from the probation service on applying a “constructive sentence”.