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Facebook pic charge man acquitted

A Chicago man who bound his 22-month-old daughter with tape and posted a photo on Facebook has been acquitted of unlawful restraint and will find out the verdict on a second charge next week.

Cook County Circuit Judge Lawrence Flood acquitted the 22-year-old father of one charge on Tuesday after a bench trial, the Chicago Tribune reported. Judge Flood later said he wanted more time to study domestic battery laws before issuing a verdict on that charge on November 8.

Andre Curry, who did not testify on his own behalf, has said he and his daughter were playing on December 13 and that he took the photo without thinking. Defence attorney Sam Adam Jr argued the child was never in danger.

The posting on Facebook showed the girl's wrists, ankles and mouth bound with tape and a note that read: "This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back". The comment ended with a smiley face symbol.

Three witnesses testified during the trial, including Chicago detective Charles Hollendoner, who said he interviewed Curry twice in the days after the incident and the father insisted the whole thing was meant to be a joke.

"He said he was just playing with the child and didn't mean any harm," Mr Hollendoner said. "He said the child was only taped up for a maximum of 30 seconds."

His sister, Annastasia Curry, testified she was cooking dinner and could hear Curry and her niece laughing in the living room. She said she went out to check on them at one point and saw the little girl covered with tape.

"She was laughing; he was laughing," the sister said. "I saw him take the tape off and I went back in the kitchen."

Cook County prosecutors contend that by placing the tape over the girl's mouth, Curry obstructed her breathing and committed a battery. Prosecutors did not present evidence that the child was injured. Mr Adam told the judge that Curry is a good father who was just being playful.

Curry, who can have only supervised visits with the child, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted on the aggravated battery charge. The girl's mother, Yesmin Doss, has said she supports Curry.

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