After a 27-day-old baby's dad
stuck his finger down her throat, the young child almost
drowned in her own blood as it poured from the wound.
In February last year the man man was alone with his daughter
in their Auckland bedroom when the incident happened.
When the baby was rushed to hospital, doctors initially
feared they wouldn't be able to resuscitate the child as the
gash bled heavily.
At a jury trial in the High Court at Auckland this year, the
child's father was found guilty of causing the injury, most
likely by sticking his finger down the girl's throat.
When she was in Starship Children's Hospital, X-rays found
she was also suffering from broken ribs, said to have
happened when the father squeezed her.
The man continued to protest his innocence, the court was
told at his sentencing in the High Court today.
He was jailed for 6-1/2 years on one charge each of wounding
with reckless disregard and injuring with reckless disregard.
The girl has made a full recovery and is now living with her
Crown prosecutor Tiffany Cooper said the girl's throat
quickly filled with blood after the incident and her "life
was put in the balance".
"It goes without saying that at 27 days of age you are a very
young baby and completely defenceless," Mrs Cooper said.
"At the time she was injured, in my submission, you couldn't
have a more vulnerable victim."
Defence lawyer Kelly-Ann Stoikoff said while her client
protested his innocence, he would accept the sentence
"At the jury's verdicts he was devastated. He remains so."
The man hoped to start his life again when he left jail and
wanted to remain part of his daughter's life. From prison, he
received regular telephone updates on her progress, Ms
Justice Graham Lang said the child was at risk of drowning in
her own blood. He told the man he had abused his position as
the girl's care giver.
The man's sentence was increased because of his previous
assault convictions, the most serious of which resulted in a
2-1/2 year jail term.
- By Jimmy Ellingham of