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Aunt and uncle on trial for abuse of young children whose parents died in 2006 car crash

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Aunt and uncle on trial for abuse of children whose parents died in 2006 car crash
WATCH: A trial began Monday for a couple accused of torturing their nieces and nephew for more than a year. As Tracy Nagai reports, child abuse experts say it’s important to know the signs – Mar 27, 2017

WARNING: Graphic content. Discretion is advised.

Three siblings are set to testify against their aunt and uncle in Calgary court, saying they were punched, kicked and tortured with utensils over the course of two years.

“They will tell you how they were punished with punches, kicks and slaps to head and body,” Crown prosecutor William Tran said in opening arguments Monday. “They will detail how they were placed in cold showers and time and time again….How [the adoptive parents] would use various utensils from the home including wooden spoons, belts, electrical cords, needles, dish soap and barbeque forks to carry out the torture.

“…how she was subjected to having her tongue burnt with a lighter and how she was forced to drink her own vomit.”

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In fall 2006, the children and their birth parents were in a car accident. The kids were ages two, three and nine years old at the time. Though the children survived, the Crown alleges they’ve been the victims of horrific abuse since they were adopted by their aunt and uncle in 2009 and relocated to Calgary.

There is a publication ban in the case to protect the identities of the children.

The Crown alleges it was a teacher who first noticed there was a problem when one of the children, age 7, came to school with a “swollen and bruised face” in January 2011. A school counsellor was notified, who then interviewed the young girl.

“[She] then provided a detailed recollection of a history of abuse perpetrated by her adoptive parents…on her and her two siblings,” Tran told court.

READ MORE: Alberta ‘leading the way’ in fight against child abuse, Sheldon Kennedy tells international experts

The three children were subsequently removed from the home, Tran said.

A detective was assigned to the case in March 2011 and interviewed the children the next month.

The three siblings are set to testify in the case starting Tuesday.

The Crown alleges the children were forced to stay home from school and wear long sleeves and sweaters at school to hide injuries.

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“Although it has been quite some time since the alleged abuse, there will be photographs depicting the long-lasting injuries suffered.”

Calgary police searched the home and seized items allegedly used against the children on May 18, 2011. On June 29, 2011, the aunt and uncle were arrested.

The woman faces charges including assault and assault with a weapon. The man faces charges including assault with a weapon and criminal negligence.

Police officers with the forensic crime scene unit took the stand Monday, testifying about numerous marks found on the children’s bodies.

With files from Global’s Tracy Nagai

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