Derry dad admits shaking baby

A father held his two-month-old son upside down and shook him in “a moment of madness,” a court has heard.

The 26-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to one charge of child cruelty relating to an incident between October 24 and November 26, 2009.

Derry Crown Court heard that the baby was crying, “crabit and whinging” and the man told the infant to “f*** up.”

He then took his son by the right leg and “shook him back and forth” over a five minute period.

The court heard the child “squealed as if in pain” however settled back to sleep in his cot.

A prosecution barrister said the baby’s mother tried to intervene but the man pulled the child away. She also tried to phone the police and he took the phone off her.

It was revealed that as a result of the incident their relationship broke down and the mother moved in with her family.

The matter was not reported to police until February 2010.

Prosecuting counsel told the court the child was examined by a paediatrician in April of that year and they found that the child did not suffer any injury and was not expected to have any long term effects as a result of this incident.

Defence barrister Martin Rodgers said the 26-year-old had a clear criminal record and had no history of domestic violence.

He said his client was “somewhat immature in respect of the responsibilities he had taken on” and the incident was a “moment of madness.”

Mr Rodgers added that the relationship between the defendant and the child’s mother was a difficult one and “in the anger he felt towards the mother he momentarily exposed the child to a risk of injury.”

Judge Piers Grant said he accepted this was an isolated incident and a case of child cruelty at the lower level.

He added that there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the man was not a loving carer to his child.

The judge adjourned sentencing as the issue of contact between the father and child is being dealt with at the family court this week.

He released the defendant on continuing bail to appear in court again on Monday.