Father who fractured baby son's skull sentenced to six years' jail and six strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - Fed up after he was awakened by the cries of his six-month-old son, a man struck the baby's head hard, causing multiple skull fractures.

On Friday (Nov 9), the 30-year-old driver was sentenced to six years' jail and six strokes of the cane after pleading guilty a day before to causing grievous hurt to his biological son, who now has permanent disabilities and has to be fed through a tube.

The man cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the boy's identity.

The child is currently two years and eight months old, but his developmental age is around four months. He cannot sit, move, turn or flip over on his own.

Before handing out the sentence, District Judge Eddy Tham said that the boy had suffered "horrendous head injuries" and is now deprived of living an independent life.

The judge also said that the man had breached the trust between a parent and a child.

The father of three was sleeping in his Bedok North flat when the boy's cries woke him up in the wee hours of Aug 26, 2016.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua told Judge Tham: "The accused shouted 'Shut up la, shut up la. Later I have work, you make noise, I cannot sleep', and hit the victim once on the head with his right hand."

The baby began to cry even harder and vomited on the floor before falling asleep.

He appeared normal when he woke up at around 8am but when his 26-year-old mother checked on him about five hours later, he was semi-conscious and weak.

An ambulance took him to KK Women's and Children's Hospital where a CT scan of his head revealed that he had multiple skull fractures.

He also had excess fluid in his brain and was immediately referred to neurosurgery. The court heard that he was discharged about seven months later, on March 2, 2017.

The boy is now living with his foster parents who are receiving financial aid from the Ministry of Social and Family Development as well as the Assistive Technology Fund, a government-funded scheme administered by SG Enable.

His older brother, who is now almost four, is also under foster care while their sister is still living with her parents. The girl's age was not mentioned in court documents.

DPP Chua said that to date, the boy has not recovered from his injuries. In June 2018, his foster parents found that he was unable to move his limbs voluntarily.

In terms of speech, the child only coos.

The DPP added: "It is important to continue early intervention and close medical follow-up to prevent further complications. However, the victim is likely to continue to require assistance in all activities of daily living and mobility."

The man is now out on bail of $15,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 23 to begin serving his sentence.

Offenders convicted of causing grievous hurt can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

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