Monday, February 16, 2015

Dad's abuse leaves 6-week-old baby permanently disabled; gets 5 years in prison (Perth, Australia)


Father who left baby son disabled after shaking him jailed for five years

By Joanna Menagh Posted Fri at 5:39pmFri 13 Feb 2015, 5:39pm

A 35-year-old Perth father who shook his six-week-old son and left him permanently disabled has been sentenced to five years' jail.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the baby in the days before Christmas in December 2013.

Whilst the exact cause of the child's injuries was not known, the District Court was told medical experts believe they were most likely the result of him being vigorously shaken.

The child, who is now 15 months old, suffered a serious brain injury.

He was left permanently blind in one eye and there was a strong risk he would develop cerebral palsy.

However, the court heard that because of his young age, medical experts were not able to definitively list the permanent injuries he would suffer.

The injuries came to light after the baby was taken to the Joondalup Health Campus by his mother because he was suffering seizures.

In police interviews, the father said he had gone to the child in the middle of the night because he was crying.

Father 'frustrated at constant crying'

The man initially said he had "no recollection" of doing anything, but later he admitted he may have dropped the baby onto a lounge because he was frustrated about his constant crying.

He also said it was possible he had shaken the child, but not violently. Judge Simon Stone said the crime was "a serious instance of aggravated grievous bodily harm".

"You owed your child a duty to support and protect that child," he said. "I accept it's not a case of deliberate infliction of serious injury, but your actions constitute a profound breach of trust ... as a father to a helpless infant who was entitled to look to you for care and protection.

"You've ruined his life from a very young age ... There is a need for general deterrence in cases such as this."

However, Judge Stone accepted that the man was remorseful and that the offence was out of character.

He also gave him a discounted sentence because of his plea of guilty.

The man will have to serve three years before he can be released on parole.