Father's appeal over baby killing fails

·2-min read

A man jailed for the "unimaginable" killing of his four-month-old son has failed to shorten his prison sentence on appeal.

Cameron Staples was jailed for a total of nine years last year over the 2019 death of his infant son Flynn after pleading guilty to child homicide.

He appealed both the length of his head sentence and seven-year non-parole period, but this was on Monday dismissed by the Victorian Court of Appeal.

Almost immediately after his partner left to go to the cinema with a friend, Staples left the four-month-old boy home alone to go and buy alcohol.

Over four or five hours Staples drank seven cans of bourbon and coke, and a cider.

Exactly how baby Flynn was injured isn't clear. Initially Staples lied and said his son fell off the change table, but he later said in recorded phone calls he had been "too rough with Flynn" like he usually was when affected by alcohol.

He said he had put Flynn down hard on the floor.

When the boy's mother returned home later she tried to rouse him to give him a bottle but left him to sleep when he seemed uninterested. She tried again an hour later and called triple zero after finding him limp and unresponsive.

Flynn died in hospital three days later. He had multiple brain bleeds, spinal cord bleeding and a serious brain injury, consistent with violent force or shaking.

In their judgment, Justice Chris Maxwell, Justice Stephen Kaye and Justice Karin Emerton said Staples was responsible for ensuring Flynn's safety and wellbeing.

They said his actions, which involved "violent forceful shaking", had violated the "fundamental norms of proper parental care".

"Even after abandoning his false account of how Flynn had been injured, the appellant would admit nothing more than that he had been 'too rough'," they said.

"It might be assumed that he acted in anger or frustration when giving the baby the 'violent forceful shaking' but this is unknown.

"All that is known is that the shaking ... was violent enough to cause fatal brain haemorrhages and the bruising to his scalp."

The judges also said Staples' conduct was aggravated by the fact he knowingly told deliberate lies about what happened to Flynn.

"(Staples) prioritised his own self-interest over the welfare of his son Flynn while he lay close to death in hospital," the judges said.

Justice Maxwell previously described Staples' actions as "unimaginable".

"It doesn't get much worse than that when you've killed your own chid and lied about it to his mother when you know what you did," he said.

Staples' barrister Sarah Lenthall had argued his sentence was excessive.

She noted that while the sentencing judge had found his diagnosed mental health conditions did not play a part in his offending they affected his prospects for rehabilitation.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting