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Canberra childcare worker fined $400 for smacking children in her care.

By Elizabeth Byrne

A 61-year-old former Canberra childcare worker who smacked two children in her care has been convicted and fined $400.

Una Masters is one of four people charged after an audit at the Civic Early Childcare Centre in February last year.

She plead guilty to four unreasonable discipline charges from four events that occurred over the period of a year.

The ACT Magistrates Court heard that on the first occasion Masters had smacked a child on the bottom so loudly another staff member heard it.

Masters also hit a boy on the back of the head, with enough force that he fell over, and on another occasion she hit a girl 10 times on the bottom when she would not stay awake.

Masters’ lawyer Alyn Doig told the court “there was a culture in the childcare centre that has some responsibility in this”.

He pointed out that Masters had now lost her job and faced permanent unemployment.

But he noted the support from family members and that she was very sorry for her actions.

“It’s a shock to everyone she finds herself in this situation,” Mr Doig said.

He urged the court to use its discretion and not record a conviction.

But prosecutor Jane Campbell said it was a serious example which involved smacking young children and it was a breach of trust.

Magistrate Peter Dingwell agreed and convicted Masters, imposing a $400 fine.

He told the court she had already been punished by the public exposure.

Two other former workers at the centre, Rajani Gautum, 50, and Jasmina Lemesh, 62, have pleaded not guilty.

Another woman will face court later this month.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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Tags: australian-politics , children , current-affairs
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