Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dad admits he assaulted 1-month-old daughter twice, causing catastrophic brain injuries (Canberra, Australia)


Father admits to shaking his baby, causing brain injury

Date September 3, 2014 - 10:59AM
Megan Gorrey and Michael Inman

A father has pleaded guilty to shaking his one-month-old daughter on two occasions, causing "catastrophic" brain injuries.

The Canberra man, 23, pleaded not guilty to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm on the baby in December 2010 and a trial was set to start in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday.

But it did not go ahead after the man instead pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of negligently causing grievous bodily harm.

Court documents said the father had been left alone with the three-week-old girl in December 2010 while the mother went shopping.

The baby's mother returned home and became concerned about her daughter when she was still, pale, cold, and crying but not opening her eyes.

The child was rushed to hospital where she started having seizures.

Medical tests indicated the baby had suffered a lack of oxygen to her brain and parts of the tissue had died.

She was airlifted to a Sydney hospital.

The symptoms suggested the baby had suffered significant acceleration injury, consistent with being shaken.

In January 2011, the offender admitted to family he had shaken his child on two occasions when he had become frustrated by her crying.

He then made further admissions to shaking the baby in text messages with the baby's mother and an unknown person, and had said he was ashamed of what happened, court documents said.

During a committal hearing, a doctor described the baby's brain injury as "catastrophic" and said there had been further damage and continuing decay to the brain.

He said the baby was likely severely disabled as a result of the injury.

The court heard on Tuesday that the man had a history of mental illness.

The current medical condition of the baby is unknown.

Justice Murrell ordered a pre-sentence report and continued the offender's bail.

He will next face court next month.