Man’s jail term extended over baby’s death


A South Australian man, already in jail after shaking his baby so hard he was left severely brain-damaged, will serve extra time behind bars following the death of the boy.

Brandon Lee Harris pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to the manslaughter of the boy who was just six weeks old at the time of the incident in May 2018. 

Harris is already serving a four-year jail term after admitting recklessly causing harm.

On Friday, Justice Mark Livesey imposed a six-year jail sentence for the manslaughter offence but ordered it be served at the same time as the earlier sentence.

Justice Livesey also extended Harris' non-parole period by two years to three years and six months.

The judge accepted that Harris did not intend to kill his son with the worst of the boy's injuries inflicted in a matter of moments.

He said Harris would also remain "guilt-ridden" for life.

But he also questioned if Harris had been totally truthful about his earlier treatment of the child, with doctors noting some partially healed broken bones.

The court previously heard that the young boy had lived for just 16 months with a raft of serious health issues including blindness, feeding difficulties and breathing problems.

He couldn't roll over, sit up, crawl or stand and was not able to move his arms and legs.

In a victim impact statement, the boy's mother told how she was shocked when she first learned his father was responsible for the injuries.

"I remember being stunned, it felt like someone had punched me in my stomach," she said.

She said her "heart was broken" when she later lost custody of her son, and she was devastated when told the boy had died.

"I lost my mind. I remember I physically punched walls and screaming, crying, sobbing.

"I will forever miss my beautiful baby boy."

Defence counsel Chris Weir said prior to the "horrendous event" Harris had been a good father even though he had little in the way of parenting skills.

"It is something he will live with for the rest of his life," Mr Weir said.

(Source)


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