Father beat baby son for crying
Infant had fractured skull and black eyes
Published 13/11/2010 | 05:00
A 26-YEAR-old man who admitted hitting his baby son off the side of a cot told gardai the infant's crying "irritated him especially when he had drugs and drinks taken".
The defendant, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to wilfully ill-treating a child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child's health or seriously to affect his well-being.
The offences happened within a two-month period when the baby was two to four-months-old.
The court heard the injuries suffered by the child, who sustained a fractured skull, three fractured ribs and bruising could have been fatal.
Sergeant Miriam Mulhall Nolan of Killarney garda station said she was notified by a social worker with the HSE after medical staff at Tralee General Hospital were very concerned about the nature of the injuries the child presented with which were described as "non accidental".
The infant's nose was skinned and beginning to get infected and he had two black eyes and old bruising on his ankles and wrists.
The defendant made a voluntary statement to gardai in which he blamed the child's mother, saying she had caused all the injuries. When he was arrested on suspicion of the offence he stuck to the story he had made in his voluntary statement, Sgt Mulhall Nolan said.
The baby was taken into care and the HSE arranged for psychological assessments to be done on both parents. It was during the course of this that the defendant disclosed that he had inflicted the injuries.
He made a further statement to gardai under caution admitting this: "His explanation was that the baby's crying irritated him, especially when he had drinks and drugs taken," Sgt Mulhall Nolan said.
"He said he wasn't able to cope and he'd set about frightening the baby and then he would shake him."
The defendant admitted hitting the baby's nose off the side of his cot when he wouldn't stop crying and letting him fall to the ground.
When they couldn't stop the bleeding, the parents brought the baby to a doctor who referred them to Tralee General Hospital.
Victim impact evidence read out in court said the child, who is now a toddler, showed no mental impairment or signs of psychological damage, and was up to all the activities to be expected of a child of its age.
The defendant, through his counsel, wished to publicly acknowledge that what he did was "unacceptable, wrong and a crime that he would have to live with every waking moment until he dies".
Judge Carroll Moran, at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court, said the injuries inflicted on the child revealed a "pattern of cruelty" which put the offence into the "very serious category".
He said he could impose a three-year sentence but adjourned sentencing for one year on condition the defendant continues to engage with a psychologist, abstains completely from illicit drugs and does not get into any trouble.