Saturday 17 March 2018

Dad shook baby until child went limp, court told

An open verdict was returned at the inquest into the death of a Belgian student who
An open verdict was returned at the inquest into the death of a Belgian student who "most probably" had taken cyanide

Georgina O'Halloran

A JUDGE ordered a report from a paediatrician in the case of a father who shook his two-month-old boy until he became limp.

The father has pleaded guilty to two counts of assault, one of causing harm and the other of causing serious harm to the eight-week-old baby.

Both incidents occurred in November 2011.

Defence barrister Seamus Roche told Judge Sean O Donnabhain at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the child, who is now two, had done very well since.

His mother had given evidence that the boy was achieving all the relevant developmental milestones.

The court heard the main concern was whether or not the child would become epileptic.

Counsel for the prosecution Siobhan Langford told the court that medical reports were positive overall.

Judge O Donnabhain said he was very conscious of the mother's position and said he got the impression on the last occasion that she was maybe under a lot of strain and "carrying a big burden".

But he said he was disinclined to dispose of the case too swiftly. He adjourned the case to a date in July to obtain a definitive report from the paediatrician.


Previously Garda James O'Donoghue told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that an ambulance was called to the house on the morning of November 26, 2011, to bring the baby to hospital.

Medical staff subsequently expressed concern that it might be a case of shaken-baby syndrome. The baby was transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital two days later, and on the way the defendant told his wife that he had "roughly placed the baby into the baby bouncer".

Later, the father, when interviewed, admitted that while feeding the baby in the middle of the night he became frustrated and angry with the child.

He admitted that on a second incident, again when the child would not settle at night, he held the baby firmly around the chest until the baby became limp.

Previously, defence barrister Seamus Roche told the court that the father had been under financial pressure as a result of the economic downturn and suffering from sleep deprivation.

"It does not excuse what happened, but it might explain why he snapped," he said.

The father cannot be named for legal reasons.

Irish Independent

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