Father sentenced to six and a half years in prison for killing his child and injuring another
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A Windsor man, 29, was sentenced Tuesday in Superior Court for manslaughter and assault on his children, both infants at the time.
A court-order publication ban prevents the media from reporting any details that could identify the surviving child.
The man admitted to shaking one infant and slapping the other in June 2019.
The father said in court Tuesday, “I was just trying to calm (the child) down. The children were crying.”
During the hearing, the accused was emotional, even sobbing when the children’s injuries were discussed.
Justice Bruce Thomas said one child was fatally injured because of “movement of the skull in a severe, forceful motion.”
He says the term most often used is “shaken baby syndrome.”
The other child suffered a bruise on its face but survived.
Defence lawyer John Sitter said his client and his wife lived in “squalor” after coming to Canada from India to pursue a post-secondary education.
Sitter described his clients’ actions as “heinous and horrifying” but noted, “he (the accused) lost his son as well. He lost his wife. He lost his life in Canada.”
Sitter asked the court for a sentence of three years.
The Crown had asked for a sentence of six to seven years.
“We didn’t see a prolonged period of violence,” assistant crown attorney Elizabeth Brown told CTV News
“This was, one moment in time that changed the lives of these people forever, and unfortunately resulted in the death of a young infant and the injury of another infant.”
Brown read a Victim Impact Statement for the court, written by the man’s now estranged wife, and mother of the two children.
“I came here with my dreams,” she wrote. “Unfortunately each one is ruined. This is the tragedy of my life.”
Brown says they were a “happy” family with a future before the offences.
“The court really has to speak to and address the momentary lapse of judgment,” she said.
The accused told the court his family is “shattered” by his actions.
“I am asking for forgiveness from this court,” he said.
Justice Bruce Thomas replied, “forgiveness is not something I am here for. Forgiveness you will need to find elsewhere.”
The judge listed the mitigating factors in the man’s case; he is young (29), has “impressive” support from his faith community, has expressed remorse by pleading guilty and does not have a criminal record.
Aggravating factors however include the “breach of trust” for a father to harm his children and his attempts to deceive Police and medical staff.
Court heard police obtained and translated a conversation between the couple, in the backseat of a taxicab that took them to the hospital that night.
In it, the man confessed to hurting the children out of frustration.
The mother had previously pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for not telling police and hospital staff the truth when they arrived at hospital.
Justice Thomas described the man’s actions as “perplexing.”
“In a moment of frustration and anger, (the accused) caused fatal injuries,” he said.
On the manslaughter conviction, Justice Thomas sentenced the man to six years in prison.
On the assault conviction, a sentence of six months to be served consecutively.
When given credit for time already served in pre-trial custody, the man has five years and 10 months left to serve.
Court heard the man was in Canada to work as a farm labourer, but his permit has expired.
Additionally, because he is going to prison, Sitter says the man is no longer “admissible” to stay in this country.
“He (the accused) will be met (at prison) and escorted from the country,” Sitter told the court, immediately upon the completion of his sentence.
The man’s DNA will be placed in Ontario’s databank and he has a lifetime ban on owning any weapons.
His former wife told the court she does not wish to continue her life with her husband, and a non-association order was placed on the accused for his time in prison.
The surviving child remains in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Windsor-Essex.