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Court rules over $260,000 in compensation after high-rise apartment incident

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-31 22:23

The guardians of a girl who hit a 3-month-old baby with an apple from the balcony of a high-rise apartment was ordered to pay compensation valued at 1.85 million yuan ($268,116) to the victim in the first instance of trial in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong province.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak, the verdict was passed announced online by Dongguan No. 3 People's Court on Tuesday.

Chen Xuejian, vice-president of Dongguan No. 3 People's Court, said the case destroyed the original happy families of both the plaintiff and the defendant.

"The falling object seriously injured the victim and caused heavy psychological burden to Xiao Xing (pseudonym of the girl), as well," Chen said after announcing the verdict to both plaintiff and defendant online.

"The tragedy could have been avoided if the guardians of Xiao Xing could have fulfilled corresponding guardianship obligations," he said.

Chen also is the presiding judge in the case which had once raised great concerns among locals.

The case took place in a housing estate in Tangxia township in Dongguan on March 9, 2018. Xiao Xing caused an apple to fall from her 24th-floor balcony, hitting the head of a 3-month-old baby girl named Fan Fan, while the baby was taken outside for a walk with her grandmother in the residential community.

Fan Fan had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment and had emergency surgery.

Fan Fan was rescued after she has several surgeries and has been hospitalized seven times for a total of 153 days.

But doctors said Fan Fan has a permanent disability because her head was seriously wounded.

Xiao Xing's mother paid a total of 75,000 yuan to Fan Fan in the aftermath.

After a thorough investigation, local police said that at the time of the incident, Xiao Xing was attempting to throw the apple to her pet dog, which was standing on the balcony, but she misjudged the distance.

Fan Fan's parents brought Xiao Xing's guardians to court and asked for compensation valued at 5.44 million yuan on Jan 30 last year. And the court opened the first public hearing on October 10.

The defendant's attorney bowed several times to apologize to the plaintiff during the public hearing, but he insisted that the case was accidental, as the object fell and wasn't thrown.

Defendants in the case also included the developer and the property management company, as the plaintiff said problems existed in the design of the house and the management company has neglected management.

But the court ruled the developer and the management company were not responsible.

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