A man who was sentenced to home detention after breaking his
baby daughter's legs will now have to serve more than two
years in jail, after a court quashed the sentence.
James Robert Hall, 21, was sentenced to 12 months' home
detention after pleading guilty to two charges of causing
grievous bodily harm, after his daughter was admitted to
Hawke's Bay Hospital in March last year.
Last month the Solicitor-General appealed that sentence at
the Court of Appeal, saying it was manifestly inadequate.
Annabel Marham, lawyer for the Solicitor-General, told the
court that the sentencing judge failed to put earlier abuse
cases that were drawn on in sentencing in the context of a
There was a "hardening or sterner" approach to cases of this
matter, which was not taken into account, she said.
It was not a single case of anger; instead the infant was
subjected to prolonged suffering, and medical help was not
In the first four months of her life, the little girl
suffered a possible fracture to her arm, three fractures on
her right thigh, two fractures on her left leg and bruising
on her leg and pelvic areas.
Hall admitted to police he had injured his daughter, and on
one occasion had bent her leg back in "blind anger". He said
other injuries could have been caused through him being rough
or careless with her.
He attributed his behaviour to "unresolved anger and his
difficulty in bonding with his daughter", the Court of Appeal
ruling, which was released today, said.
The ruling said the little girl "must have spent the first
few weeks of her life in significant pain".
Defence counsel Scott Jefferson argued at the Court of Appeal
there was not a huge difference between what the
Solicitor-General was asking for and the sentence.
"What we're arguing about is whether this man should go to
prison or not.
"Given that we're not far apart, I urge the court not to
interfere with it."
But Justices Douglas White, Graham Lang and Christopher Allan
said it was apparent the sentencing judge, Justice Mary
Peters, had "erred" in adopting a starting point of two years
nine months imprisonment.
"We accept the Crown submissions that the offending here was
serious and involved an acceptance by Mr Hall of 'reckless
disregard' for his baby daughter."
The justices said the home detention sentence was "manifestly
They quashed the sentenced and replaced it with imprisonment
of two years five months.
Hall had completed 10 days of his home detention sentence,
but the justices did not consider he should receive any
reduction in the sentence they imposed.
He was to surrender himself to Hastings police by 10am