A Sabbath Hill man who pleaded guilty to battering, body slamming, and choking his underaged son into unconsciousness last year has walked from the Magistrate’s Court with a two-month suspended sentence.
The 45-year-old offender’s sentence for cruelty to a child will be suspended for two years, which means he will only spend two months in prison if he commits another offence in the next two years.
His name is being withheld to protect the identity of his abused son.
In handing down his sentence on Monday, Magistrate Shawn Innocent described the incident as a ‘savage act of brutality’ and noted that the aggravating factors clearly outweighed the mitigating ones.
Magistrate Innocent said while the defendant’s apology was intended to be remorseful, it came off like ‘righteous indignation’. He further noted that the penalty was not harsher because the offender is a single father of five.
The court, however, made a mandatory order for the father to attend anger management counselling for two years at the Social Development Department.
Child fears for life
The court was told that on January 22 last year, the father hit his son repeatedly before he slammed him to the ground and used his fists and his feet to choke the boy.
The court heard that the father had battered the child to that extent at least five times in the past.
The child sustained swelling and several abrasions to his jaw and on the right side of his face. Court reports indicate that the abrasions measured seven and five centimetres. The boy also suffered injuries to his eye and right shoulder.
“The punishment was degrading, to say the least … [it] was to instil fear and anxiety in the child who expresses fear that the next time the defendant chokes him, he will not let go,” Magistrate Innocent said.
No social inquiry done
Notably, the child continues to live with his father to this day.
The court heard that, despite the offence, no social inquiry was done that would assist the court with any measures that can be taken to protect the child.
Meanwhile, the court was told that the death of the defendant’s wife may have contributed to the abuse of the child. However, Magistrate Innocent did not accept that as any justifiable excuse. He also pointed out that the man’s deceased wife was also the boy’s mother so he (the child) was also grieving.
The relationship between the father and his son is said to have improved since the man successfully completed the Partnership For Peace programme, the court heard.
Defence attorney Patrick Thompson represented the offender.
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