Father who shook baby to death handed 18-year sentence

A father convicted of murdering his infant son by recklessly shaking him has been handed an 18-year prison term for his deadly actions.

The man denied a charge of murder, but he was found guilty in the NSW Supreme Court in September after a jury trial. 

The Afghan national, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was living with his wife in an arranged marriage in Sydney in June 2020 when their nine-week-old baby son received the fatal head injuries. 

His wife left their Auburn home for a doctor’s appointment but returned within 15 minutes after realising she had left her phone behind. 

She found her husband distressed and the baby in a critical condition, with the infant's eyes open but appearing sightless.

There was a small, bloody discharge coming from the baby's nose, while his limbs were flopping uncontrolled. 

Medical examinations showed excessive bleeding in the space between the child's brain and skull, a shrinking of his brain caused by decreased blood flow and numerous haemorrhages in his retinas.

The baby died due to complications from the injuries after doctors recommended turning off life support one month later.

Justice Helen Wilson said the offender had shaken the baby so strongly that significant rotational force had been applied to his head, causing irreparable harm. 

She found the father had shaken his son on at least one occasion before the incident that caused the baby’s death.

The behaviour had previously been witnessed by his wife, who warned it was highly dangerous. 

He cried out saying "I killed the baby" at multiple points at home and later at hospital to different people, including his wife, after the fatal attack.

Justice Wilson highlighted the "profound damage" and "unimaginable grief" the man had caused his wife, as well as his fundamental failure to protect his child from harm. 

"The offender has consistently lied about what happened to (the baby)," she said on Wednesday.

Those lies included statements to medical professionals, police and his wife.

The man did not call an ambulance, which was only done after his wife returned and asked neighbours for help.

He maintained his innocence throughout the trial and at one point tried to cast blame for the child's death on the mother.

The man, who has never expressed remorse for the death, was sentenced to a non-parole period of 12-and-a-half years.

He will be eligible for parole in February 2033. 

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

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