A two-year-old boy living in Co Antrim was allegedly scalded and subjected to “horrific” genital injuries, the High Court has heard.
Prosecutors claimed non-accidental wounds on the child found last weekend had been inflicted over a sustained period of time.
A man and woman who police believe shared his home face charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Portuguese nationals Reuben Santos, 26, and 19-year-old Rita Beltrao, both of Greenfields in Randalstown, are also jointly accused of child cruelty.
Details emerged as they were due to mount applications for bail.
Crown lawyer Kate McKay said the boy was discovered on March 25 “in a very distressing condition”.
She told the court: “There are photographs of what are very clearly non-accidental injuries to his genitals.”
Mrs McKay further alleged the child been scalded and referred to bruising all over his body.
“It’s actually quite horrific,” the barrister said.
“This child is not even registered, I don’t think anybody knows anything about him.”
The court heard Santos and Beltrao are in a relationship, although neither of them are a parent to the alleged victim.
According to the prosecution they lived in the same house as the boy and his natural father – who is also a co-accused.
A three-year-old girl was said to have been staying at the address too.
It was suggested that the group may have come to Northern Ireland after spending a period in the Irish Republic.
Defence counsel Sean Mullan, representing Beltrao, said a landlord for the property in Randalstown has expressed concerns about any attention surrounding the case.
Amid that uncertainty over a potential bail address, Madam Justice McBride was further told police would prefer more time to make inquiries with Portuguese authorities.
“At the moment the investigation is very fresh,” Mrs McKay said.
“Investigations are going to have to be made about how this child sustained these horrific injuries over a sustained period.”
She added: “It’s an emotive matter.”
Citing the issues over an available address, the judge agreed to adjourn the bail applications to next week.