Father jailed for wounding baby

ROB KIDD
Last updated 13:45 15/05/2014

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An Auckland man who jammed his fingers into his daughter's throat causing her to almost drown in her own blood has been jailed.

The 27-year-old man - whose name is suppressed to protect the identity of his child - was found guilty at trial of wounding with reckless disregard and injuring with reckless disregard.

The charges came from an incident in February last year when the man and his partner were woken up by their 27-day-old baby crying.

The girl's mother picked up the baby and brought her and a bottle into the bedroom where the offender lay in bed.

She left her daughter to be fed by her partner but when she returned shortly afterwards there was blood streaming from the girl's mouth.

An ambulance rushed the baby to Waitakere Hospital where doctors were barely able to resuscitate her.

Once stabilised she was transferred to Starship Hospital where X-rays showed two fractured ribs.

At trial, medical experts were unable to pinpoint when the injuries occurred but at the Auckland High Court this afternoon, Justice Graham Lang said it was reasonable to assume they occurred around the same time as the laceration to the baby's throat.

Defence lawyer Kelly-Ann Stoikoff said her client continued to protest his innocence and was "devastated" at the jury's decision.

"While he accepts the jury's verdicts, as he must, his plan for future life is to serve the sentence and then, in his words, 'his life will begin again'," she said.

"His fervent hope is he remains a part of his daughter's life in future."

The baby now lives with her maternal grandparents who had full custody of her.

Justice Lang was dumbfounded by the offender's actions.

"I'm left at a loss as to how any father could treat his very young daughter in this way," he said.

"The reason will only ever be known by you."

The judge was just as unimpressed by the man's criminal history, which included five convictions for violent offending; most recently an aggravated robbery in 2009.

"You've not learned from previous sentences imposed on you for similar offending," said Justice Lang.

He said there were no mitigating factors in the offender's favour and sentenced the man to six and a half years jail.

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