A young boy was allegedly forced to fast for days before dying during a Chinese slapping and stretching workshop meant to cure him of diabetes.
The six-year-old diabetic boy died in April 2015 in Sydney after allegedly being made to consume nothing but water and a ginger drink for three days, and then being subjected to an intense slapping and stretching session, reports 9News.
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He also reportedly hadn't been given an insulin injection for his type-1 diabetes in five days.
Charged with manslaughter, his mother, father, and grandmother, as well as Chinese self-help practitioner Hong Chi Xiao have all pleaded not guilty in a New South Wales District Court.
Crown prosecutor Sharon Harris said all four had breached their duty of care for the child through gross negligence.
As a result of the treatment, the boy began vomiting black and yellow substances, which Mr Xiao allegedly told the family were toxins leaving his body.
The practitioner had apparently said the treatment would activate the body's self-healing power and unlock energy channels capable of curing cancer and diabetes.
But Ms Harris said that the vomiting had instead been a sign of "diabetic ketoacidosis', which the boy died of, six days after stopping his insulin injections.
"He was pushed around in a stroller on the final day because he couldn't walk," said Ms Harris. "[Mr Xiao] was promoting his methods as superior to convention Western medicine".
But Mr Xiaos's barrister Robert Cavanagh disputed his client owed the boy a duty of care, and even if that had been a case, the Chinese practitioner was never criminally negligent.
The boy's mother's barrister, Ragni Mathur, said the mother had treated her son's diabetes exactly as Sydney hospital had instructed. Ms Mathur also said her client had believed Mr Xiao was a doctor, and the family weren't alternative medicine fanatics.
The trial is expected to last the next six weeks.