A disability support worker has faced court accused of kicking a 19-year-old high-needs patient in the stomach and deliberately booting a soccer ball into his back at a care home in the Illawarra.
Scott Lucas is facing common assault charges over the alleged incidents, said to have taken place on the same day in October 2016 at an Albion Park care facility run by Disability Services Australia.
Lucas denies the allegations.
In court on Tuesday, fellow worker Linda Stone recalled seeing Lucas kick the ball “really hard” into the middle of the teen’s back while the two carers were working a shift together.
“It was done to hurt [him]….it was punitive, a [form of] dominance,” she said.
“I thought that was very cruel.”
Ms Stone described the teen as six-foot tall and weighing more than 100kgs, but “like a 4-year-old boy” intellectually.
She also said he was “very violent” and had to live on his own in the house with two or three carers with him at all times.
She said the teen didn’t give much of a reaction when the ball struck his back, simply turning around to look at Lucas, who she claimed was always abrupt with the teen and often swore at him during their interactions.
Meantime, she recounted a further incident she claimed she witnessed between the two later that day, in which Lucas kicked the teen in the stomach after the teen had approached him as he sat on the lounge.
“It was pretty forceful,” she said of the kick.
“It was enough to propel [the victim] backwards.”
However, under cross examination, Lucas’ lawyer, Jeff Clarke, produced a work roster that showed Lucas and Ms Stone were not rostered to work together that day.
When asked about the discrepancy, Ms Stone claimed that the management of the house was “very haphazard” and that staff often changed or swapped their shifts to suit the needs of the clients, which often wasn’t reflect on the roster.
She also said the name of one of the workers was missing from the roster entirely.
Ms Stone also denied defence suggestions that there was “discontent” among staff over Lucas’ employment on a part-time permanent contract, with other staff at the house only employed on a casual basis.
She also denied suggestions she was being untruthful about what occurred that day.
“I put it to you that you didn’t see Mr Lucas ‘line up’ [the victim] so-to-speak, and kick the ball hard at him,” Mr Clarke said.
“Yes I most certainly did,” Ms Stone responded.
The hearing was adjourned to continue on August 31 with evidence from two more staffers.