Young immature mum shook newborn out of frustration
AT 17, she escaped a violent relationship when her partner was sent to jail and then she gave birth to his child.
But weeks after giving birth, the young mother had an argument with her own mother and she was kicked out of home with a newborn to look after.
Last week, she faced the District Court for shaking her newborn, which resulted in significant, and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Barrister, Tom Polley, painted a disheartening picture of a girl who grew up in a trouble household, marred by violence and allegations of sexual assault currently being dealt with by the authorities.
Mr Polley said she entered the relationship with the father of the child when she was 15 and he was 18 or 19.
He said it was an unsettling relationship marred by violence and controlling behaviour.
Mr Polley said while her parents separated when she was a baby, the woman had reconnected with her father when she was 12, but the relationship dissolved when the defendant gave birth.
He said that right before she lost control and shook her crying newborn, she had lost all family support and had been homeless.
The court heard the defendant had entered a new relationship and was living with this man and her baby when the incident occurred.
Her new partner, 22, had come home to find the baby in the rocker, crying and unable to be settled.
He then went for a shower and when he returned, the child was screaming and the defendant was sitting in a chair, very distressed.
The court heard the man found bruises on the child's lower vertebrae and the child started shaking.
The child suffered extensive haemorrhaging to the inner and outer membranes of his brain, encephalitis and the haemorrhaging was evident in his eyes.
Judge Michael Burnett, in handing down the woman's sentence, said the paediatrician determined the child had been subjected to a significant shake.
The court heard the child had corrective surgery on his eye and had recovered from the other injuries.
The child is now a ward of the state and the mother sees him three times a week. She has completed a course to help her be a better mother and received counselling since losing custody.
"The offending is troubling. It involves an infant child," Judge Burnett said.
He said there was no suggestion it was premeditated, just a frustrated, immature young mother with little parenting skills but despite exceptional circumstances, Judge Burnett still imposed a jail-term sentence.
He sentenced the woman, now 19, to three years in prison with immediate parole. A conviction was recorded as an act of domestic violence.