The Court of Appeal puts things to rights by banging up the bugger who broke his baby daughter’s legs

Prison is the place for blokes who harm their kids.

Alf accordingly is delighted to report that a bloke who was sentenced to home detention after breaking his baby daughter’s legs will now have to serve more than two years in jail.

That’s the consequence of the original sentence being quashed – and damned right, too.

News of this just came through (here), as Question Time wrapped up in the House and Alf could attend to important stuff like catching up with the news and updating his blog.

He was reminded that –

James Robert Hall, 21, was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention after pleading guilty to two charges of causing grievous bodily harm, after his daughter was admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital in March last year.

Alf recalls this being a highly questionable sentence and he was pleased that the Solicitor-General appealed it at the Court of Appeal, saying it was manifestly inadequate.

A hardening of attitudes was called for.

Annabel Marham, lawyer for the Solicitor-General, told the court that the sentencing judge failed to put earlier abuse cases that were drawn on in sentencing in the context of a developing jurisprudence.

There was a “hardening or sterner” approach to cases of this matter, which was not taken into account, she said.

It was not a single case of anger; rather the infant was subjected to prolonged suffering, and medical help was not sought.

In the first four months of her life, the little girl suffered a possible fracture to her arm, three fractures on her right thigh, two fractures on her left leg and bruising on her leg and pelvic areas.

This Hall feller seems to have an anger management issue.

He admitted to police he had injured his daughter

… and on one occasion had bent her leg back in “blind anger”.

He said other injuries could have been caused through him being rough or careless with her.

He attributed his behaviour to “unresolved anger and his difficulty in bonding with his daughter”, the Court of Appeal ruling, which was released today, said.

It’s a shame we can only guess at the suffering inflicted on the baby. But –

The ruling said the little girl “must have spent the first few weeks of her life in significant pain”.

Defence counsel Scott Jefferson argued to the Court of Appeal that being banged up in prison wasn’t much different from home detention.

There is a difference, of course. As Alf understands it, the battered baby happens to be at home, where this bloke was to have served his time under the original sentence.

The defence bloke blissfully overlooked this.

“What we’re arguing about is whether this man should go to prison or not.

“Given that we’re not far apart, I urge the court not to interfere with it.”

Justices Douglas White, Graham Lang and Christopher Allan – good for them – said the home detention sentence was “manifestly inadequate”.

They quashed the sentence and replaced it with imprisonment of two years five months.

Hall had completed 10 days of his home detention sentence, but the justices did not consider he should receive any reduction in the sentence they imposed.

He was to surrender himself to Hastings police by 10am Monday.

Let this be a lesson for other baby bashers.


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