Baby suffers head injury in couple’s ‘stupid’ game

AN IPSWICH couple was playing a "reckless" game involving throwing and catching their own eight-month-old child when the baby was dropped on the floor and injured.

A court has heard despite there being no malicious intent behind the behaviour, the couple was still charged with committing a negligent act, after the child sustained a head injury.

At Ipswich District Court the father, aged 24, and his partner aged 25 both pleaded guilty to doing a negligent act causing bodily harm to the baby - a domestic violence offence, on April 6, 2019 in Riverview.

Neither of the defendants can be named for legal reasons.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis withdrew a previous indictment that they unlawfully threw the baby causing bodily harm. The charge was dismissed by Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC.

Mr Wallis said the father was on parole at the time on a 15-month jail term for unrelated matters.

Judge Horneman-Wren said the Crown facts indicated the couple engaged in "senseless and appalling behaviour" by tossing the baby.

"They were throwing the baby between themselves. He threw the child with no malicious intent and she failed to catch the baby," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

"It was just stupidity, their behaviour.

"He was playing with the baby. They were reckless in a stupid way."

Judge Horneman-Wren said another important factor was that neither of the defendants sought medical attention for the child after the incident, and both of them later lied about the cause of the injuries, only making admissions when pressed.

The court heard the couple's three children are now in care of the maternal grandmother following intervention by the Department of Child Safety.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said the father wanted to return to parenting his children but would need to demonstrate he has good parenting skills, was not using drugs, and had gained some insight into his behaviour.

Defence barrister Geoffrey Seaholme said the mother had moved from Ipswich to Hervey Bay and was working at ways to prove she was a fit and proper person to have the children back in her care.

"It was just stupid behaviour that unfortunately resulted in the injury. Fortunately the child has recovered without any residual effect," Mr Seaholme said.

Judge Horneman-Wren said when it was dropped, the baby struck its head, causing a fracture.

"It was stupid juvenile behaviour with no malice attached to it," he said.

He said the father had been returned to jail because of the previous sentence and was not expected to be released until September.

The father, appearing from jail via video-link, then spoke, saying: "We've moved to Hervey Bay for a new start. We've both been clean, off the drugs. Love it here. No drugs, no nothing."

The man and woman were each sentenced to a nine-month probation order.

No conviction was recorded against them.

"Thank you your honour. Love you baby," said the father gesturing to his partner over the video-link.

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