Man avoids jail after accidentally breaking child’s leg

A FATHER of three has walked away from court after being sentenced over a violent act that left his girlfriend's young son with a broken leg.

The Grafton 30-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared in Grafton District Court yesterday charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

According to the agreed facts, the toddler, 20 months old at the time, was playing in the lounge room of the offender's house on April 3 last year.

When the child jumped off the coffee table, the offender picked him up, smacked him and put him on the couch before going into another room with the child's mother.

He heard a thud and returned to find the young boy playing with his toy trucks on the floor.

The court heard he picked the child up and "banged him onto the lounge really hard".

The toddler started to scream and cry and the mother of the child noticed his leg didn't feel right.

On admission to Maclean Hospital it was found that the child had received a femoral mid-shaft spiral fracture to his right leg that required him to be placed in a restrictive hanging device for between four and six weeks.

The victim's mother lied to hospital staff and police about how the child's injuries were sustained, saying he had jumped off the couch and landed awkwardly.

The man was arrested on May 9, and in a police interview told officers it was an accident.

The defence solicitor said since it happened, the young father had undertaken several parenting courses and had looked into attending a beyondblue course.

On the witness stand, he said he never meant to hurt the child.

"I just wanted him to sit still while his mother got ready and he was jumping around on the furniture," he said. "I was worried he was going to hurt himself."

The defendant said he was remorseful and very reluctant to discipline a child at all now.

It was heard that he remained the sole carer of one of his own children.

The Crown conceded that it was an unplanned offence and that he seemed unlikely to re-offend. The Crown asked only for a good behaviour bond.

"This is a very serious offence of domestic violence," District Court Judge Ronald Solomon said.

"Remarkably the Crown has asked for a Section 9 bond, but it must be known that courts take a very strict view in relation to acts of violence. A custodial sentence is expected and required in this case."

The man was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment, wholly suspended.

A two-year AVO in place to protect the child will continue.



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