Man jailed for injuries to baby

A man who tried to force feed, and then shook a five-month-old baby, has been sent to jail.

Robert Peter Leslie Kelly, 31, who was separated from the baby’s mother, was left in charge of his son while she went to pick up her older children.

When the mother returned to the house she was concerned for the baby, who had pin prick red spots on him.

She took him to a medical centre and was sent on to the hospital.

The baby had a torn tongue, a small rupture over his forehead, spots on his neck, bruising on his chest, and more bruising near his left ear, and a bleed in his head.

Kelly had admitted a charge of injuring the baby with reckless disregard for his safety, and was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court today.

Defence counsel Kiran Paima said Kelly did not enter the room on September 6 with the offending in mind, and he needed help in preventing any reoccurrence.

Judge Michael Crosbie said Kelly forced a bottle into the baby’s mouth causing bleeding, and when the baby cried Kelly shook him.

The mother’s victim impact report said it was a waiting game to check the baby met all his milestones as he grew older.

She said the baby took a long time to stop flinching and screaming when she put him to bed, and refused a spoon near his mouth.

She felt that she had let the baby down, and wasn’t there to keep him safe, the report said.

Judge Michael Crosbie told the sobbing mother in the back of the court that none of this was her fault, and that every child should expect their father to take the same care as their mother.

He said Kelly had a history of seven violent convictions, and more convictions for breaching court orders.

He told Kelly that the role of a parent first and foremost was to protect their child, and Kelly had let the child down, the child’s mother down, and himself down.

Kelly was angry at a young vulnerable, defenceless baby, who woke and wanted a feed, he said.

The baby may have serious long term physical and psychological effects, but the prognosis was likely to be positive in the long term.

Kelly’s pre-sentence report said his likelihood of re-offending, and risk of harm to others, was close to high, and Kelly wanted to do rehabilitation programmes to assist him.

He was sentenced to two years’ three months’ jail.

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