A 25-year-old man was charged with assaulting a child in his care and criminal intimidation at the District Court in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island on Wednesday.

The unemployed man was accused of abusing his daughter – two weeks old at the time – by slapping her three times and shaking her in December 2016 at his flat in Yung Long, the New Territories, Tai Kung Pao reported. He allegedly could not stand the baby’s crying.

The baby suffered a brain hemorrhage and cerebral anoxia.

The father was also accused of criminal intimidation of his mother-in-law.

The District Court heard the latest report on the status of the baby girl, now about 13 months old, on Tuesday.

A medical report written on Monday (Jan 15) said the girl could not breathe or eat on her own and that she relies on breathing machine. She is now in a vegetative state and her health condition would not improve.

After hearing the update, Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong appeared emotional and said: “If the baby …” but he was unable to finish his sentence. He then adjourned the hearing for five minutes.

The judge returned to the court and said the case was the worst child abuse case he had never handled.

The judge said the maximum penalty for the charge was 10 years in prison. And if the defendant was convicted, there was a high chance he would get the highest penalty – to see that justice was done.

However, the maximum sentence that could be imposed in a District Court was seven years, so the judge asked the prosecutor to consider transferring the case to a higher court.

The prosecutor said they would consider doing this based on the latest report about the baby girl’s condition, Oriental Daily reported.

The case was adjourned until January 23 and no plea was taken. The judge also refused a request for bail by the defendant, who claimed he wanted to visit his daughter in hospital.