A man stands at the tribute to the baby that was found dead on the beach in Surfers Paradise near Staghorn Ave. Photo: Tertius Pickard
A man stands at the tribute to the baby that was found dead on the beach in Surfers Paradise near Staghorn Ave. Photo: Tertius Pickard

Father ‘psychotic’ when he threw baby into river, court told

A MAN accused of killing his infant child by throwing her into the Tweed River was suffering a "psychotic mindset" at the time, a court has heard.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have murdered his nine-month-old daughter by tossing her into the north coast river on November 17, 2018.

The infant's body was found two days after the alleged murder when it washed up on Surfers Paradise beach.

The girl's father, who was homeless at the time, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and a judge alone trial is currently underway at the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney.

On Tuesday, the man's barrister Jason Watts, told the court that it was not in dispute that his client "deliberately" threw the baby into the river causing her death, but argued that he was suffering from a "defect of reason arising from a disease of the mind" at the time.

In a brief closing address, Watts pointed to the accused's "consistent presentation" of symptoms of acute chronic schizophrenia before the alleged offence, during police interviews and in sessions with psychiatrists.

A tribute to the baby that was found dead on the beach in Surfers Paradise near Staghorn Ave. Photo: Tertius Pickard
A tribute to the baby that was found dead on the beach in Surfers Paradise near Staghorn Ave. Photo: Tertius Pickard

"He was thoroughly convinced that (the child) was corrupt, evil, and was going to cause great distress if she reached the age of one," Watts said.

Earlier, forensic psychiatrist professor David Greenberg told the court he'd reviewed "many thousands of pages" of medical records on the accused, which included evidence of delusional beliefs related to infants.

Greenberg, in his testimony, referred to instances between 2001 and 2016 when the accused told health professionals of hallucinations about killing babes, killing other people, believing himself to be Jesus and believing that pop star Britney Spears was his girlfriend.

On the day of the alleged murder, the court heard that the accused tried several times to give the infant away due to his "disordered thinking", before throwing her in the river.

It also heard he drank several cans of beer in the lead-up to the infant's death, which likely exacerbated his schizophrenia.

"He believed that the child was evil, a disease as he called her," Greenberg said.

"It seems illogical to us but in a psychotic mindset to him it was logical."

The infant's death was described as a "very tragic situation", with the court hearing that mental health services in Victoria and Queensland had over time "relentlessly" tried to keep in contact with the accused.

It was told that this task was very difficult due to the man's "homelessness and his itineracy".

Justice Helen Wilson reserved her judgment until Wednesday afternoon.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 


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