Friday, January 8, 2010

Dead who nearly killed 4-month-old son wants conditional sentence/no jail (Winnipeg, Canada)

Dad PATRICK HARWOOD-JONES has already been convicted of aggravated assault in the "vigorous shaking" of his 4-month-old son, who suffered a brain injury as a result. The baby was hospitalized after he quit breathing, and experienced convulsions and seizures. Daddy says he was "overwhelmed and stressed" because the baby was crying and needed a bottle, and poor Daddy was "home alone." Daddy also says he shook him on at least 8 OCCASIONS --because of "frustration." But Daddy is really special--at least in his own mind--so he shouldn't have to go to jail. Not even for two years. Just community service, please. And the Fathers rights people say that mothers monopolize the special deals? Not by a long shot.

Dad who hurt baby hopes for conditional sentence
By: Mike McIntyre

8/01/2010 1:00 AM

A Winnipeg father who nearly killed his four-month-old son -- then breathed life back into his battered body -- says he shouldn't go to jail for his crime.

Patrick Harwood-Jones was convicted last year of aggravated assault. He is now seeking a conditional sentence that would allow him to remain free in the community.

The Crown wants two years of real jail for Harwood-Jones. Queen's Bench Justice Christopher Martin heard arguments Thursday and has reserved his decision until Jan. 14.

Harwood-Jones told police he felt "overwhelmed and stressed" at the time of the August 2006 incident that caused his son to briefly stop breathing. He was home alone and struggling to feed a bottle of formula to the crying child.

"With the buildup, I just let him go. I knew he was hurt. I did not throw him, I just let my arms out," he said. Harwood-Jones quickly realized what he'd done and picked up his son, giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The boy resumed breathing and was rushed to hospital.

Doctors found swelling on the baby's brain and bleeding on his retinas. There was also evidence of so-called "shaken baby syndrome."

Harwood-Jones later admitted he'd vigorously shaken his son on at least eight prior occasions because of frustration. He said he used force that was "seven out of 10" on a scale and often left the child with a blank stare, his eyes rolled back into his head.

The baby remained in hospital for nearly two weeks, suffering various convulsions and seizures. He eventually made a full recovery and has suffered no apparent long-term damage, court was told.

Harwood-Jones initially claimed his son had struck his head on the rails of his crib. He eventually admitted the truth after repeated questioning from police.

Harwood-Jones began his trial last fall by pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm but not guilty to the more serious offence of aggravated assault, which suggests a deliberate attempt to injure. The Crown did not accept his plea.

The judge later ruled the Crown had established intent.

"I need only life experience and common sense to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that dropping a four-month-old infant from approximately adult waist height onto the floor, whether face up or face down, would put his life in danger, in peril or at risk," Martin wrote in his decision.
Harwood-Jones has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest -- a factor his lawyer cites in asking for a conditional sentence.