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Shaken Baby Lives On
July 24, 2009 permalink
A mother convicted of shaken baby has been given a non-jail sentence. Maybe the judge became skeptical after reading the Goudge report. Without names we cannot be sure, but this may be the same case reported on January 10.
Shaken-baby mom spared jail
Tot left blind and with brain injuries
Barbara Brown, The Hamilton Spectator, (Jul 23, 2009)
A mother who is to blame for her 13-month-old son's devastating brain injuries was sentenced yesterday to a conditional sentence of two years less a day, including six months of house arrest and community supervision.
Superior Court Justice David Crane said he struggled long and hard to arrive at an appropriate sentence for the 36-year-old mother of three children, whom he convicted in January of aggravated assault following damning testimony from several experts on shaken baby syndrome.
Crane found the mother called 911 in August 2006 after shaking the toddler so hard that he was left legally blind and with significant cognitive impairments.
Defence lawyer John Abrams said the Children's Aid Society banished the mother from the home, but later allowed her back under supervision and eventually permitted her to resume her role as primary caregiver to the injured boy and his two older sisters.
Abrams said child-protection workers took the position that the mother momentarily lost control and assaulted her child. However, she has co-operated with their demands to take parenting courses and counselling and has satisfied them that she no longer poses a danger to her children.
The lawyer said the boy attends a day-care centre for special needs children that is covered by his medical insurance, but his parents would not have been in a position to pay for full-time day care for their three children should the mother be sentenced to jail.
The father would have had to leave his job to take care of the children.
"The family is established in the community, the children are in school but they have no other family here to assist them," Abrams said.
The mother "faces severe consequences for her actions and momentary loss of control and will continue to face them every day for the rest of her life," he said.
The court heard the boy is improving but is not expected to ever be able to live independently and will require care for life.
The mother pleaded not guilty at her trial.
The father, who speaks better English than she does, reported to doctors and child-welfare workers that their child had been climbing on a chair a few days earlier and had fallen 30 to 60 centimetres to the floor.
The parents maintain the accidental blow caused the injuries to the boy's head. The couple did not qualify for legal aid and could not afford to hire an expert witness to counter the testimony of the medical experts hired by the Crown.
Assistant Crown attorney Janet Booy argued that a term of real jail was required in order to deter others from what courts have characterized as a "reckless loss of temper directed at a defenceless young child."
Source: Hamilton Spectator