Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Custodial dad pleads guilty to assault of 5-month-old son (Charlottetown, PEI, Canada)

As is typical in these articles, you have to read carefully to figure out that this wasn't some random "man" who struck this baby in the face with a bottle and fractured three of the baby's ribs because he was "frustrated" from the baby's crying.

Actually, ROBERT ANDREW GARIEPY is a custodial father. Not only that, but a custodial father who is the only parent "in the picture at all." Why the mother is not "in the picture" is not explained. It almost never is. And it is also made pretty clear that Mom won't be admitted back into the picture. For whatever reason.

But note that Daddy has pretty much got the kid glove treatment. Parenting and "anger management" classes to deal with that temper of his. All because the poor dear was "not getting much sleep" or "much help caring for the child." Well, I hate to break it to you, but that describes the life of EVERY MOTHER of a baby--unless you're quite wealthy--and all those moms generally manage to avoid assaulting their babies. And note that this guy initially lied about how the baby was injured, too. Doesn't matter. He keeps custody. And will apparently get a very light sentence.

Who says daddies are discriminated against?



Man strikes infant in face with baby bottle
Published on September 28th, 2010
Published on September 28th, 2010

A 21-year-old Charlottetown man who pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing bodily harm laid after he struck his infant son in the face with a bottle and fractured three of the child’s ribs has had his sentence hearing adjourned until March 1.

Robert Andrew Gariepy appeared for sentence in P.E.I. Supreme Court Monday, but after hearing an agreed statement of facts and representations from the Crown and defence counsel, Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie decided to set the case over for sentence.

Defence counsel Brenda Picard had asked Cheverie to adjourn the passing of sentence for four to six months if he was considering a sentence that was more than 90 days in jail, taking it outside the range that would make him eligible for an intermittent sentence.

Picard requested the adjournment because the mother of the accused has agreed to provide care for the child while her son is in jail, but she herself is recovering from a period of ill health and will need four to six months before she’s able to provide that care for him.

Cheverie told the accused Monday he will be sentenced to a jail term in excess of 90 days when he returns to court in May, but could not say how much more than 90 days the sentence might be because there were a number of factors to be considered.

Included among those factors is the manner in which Gariepy conducts himself over the next several months.

The Crown has called for a sentence of between 15 to 18 months.

The defence had proposed a sentence of 90 days but Cheverie has already ruled that out.

The charge of assault causing bodily harm stems from a single incident of child abuse.

An agreed statement of facts read into the record by Crown prosecutor Cheryl A. Schurman stated that Gariepy was alone with his five-month-old son at a residence in Milton on the night of the assault. She said Gariepy was overtired and became frustrated when the infant would not take his bottle.

He struck the infant twice in the face with the baby bottle, leaving a mark.

The child began to cry and when he would not stop crying Gariepy squeezed the child, fracturing three of his ribs.

They took the child to the hospital claiming he had suffered the injuries while in his Jolly Jumper.
But the attending physician did not believe the injuries were consistent with what the accused had described to him.

When police went to the home with a search warrant to seize certain items Gariepy told police he had something to tell them and recounted the real story behind his son’s injuries.

In calling for a sentence of 15-18 months, Schurman said the court must impose a sentence that sends a clear message that the actions of the accused are not acceptable.

She said the sentence should express the abhorrence of the court at such actions.

Schurman said the accused has, to his credit, made positive strides since the assault was committed but must still answer for his actions.

She noted the victim was vulnerable, completely dependent on his father for his care and that the injuries he suffered at his father’s hands were significant enough to warrant sending him to the IWK in Halifax for treatment.

“This is a serious case of serious harm done to a child,” Schurman said.

Picard said the sentence proposed by the Crown was excessive.

She said the accused had no criminal record and has accepted full responsibility for his actions.

At the time of the incident Gariepy was not getting much sleep and was not getting much help caring for the child, Picard told the court.

Since the incident he has taken counselling to improve his coping skills and address anger management issues.

In response to a question from Cheverie she said the child’s mother is not in the picture at all.

Picard said the assault in this case was serious, but on the lower end of serious.

Cheverie said he has a number of factors to consider in crafting a sentence for this accused. He said he must craft a sentence that is appropriate in light of the injuries suffered by the child and which addresses the principles of denunciation and deterrence.

But he said he’s also looking at a young man with no prior record.

And at the heart of this, he noted, is a little boy who runs the risk of being taken back into the care of the Department of Child Welfare if his father is sentenced to more than 90 days in jail and has no one to care for him.

The child was initially taken from his father but was returned to his care after he had completed counselling to improve his parenting skills and address other relevant issues.