Newcastle man not guilty of murdering baby

·2-min read

A Newcastle man accused of murdering a six-month-old baby has been found not guilty by a jury but has been convicted of manslaughter.

Jie William Smith, 31, pleaded not guilty to murdering his then partner's six-month-old son who went into cardiac arrest early on February 9, 2019 in New Lambton.

He told the NSW Supreme Court jury that his ex-girlfriend had punched the baby in the face and shaken him vigorously before he intervened, causing her to leave without the child.

Smith says that he tried to settle the distressed child and feed him a bottle but he wriggled out of his arms and dropped him.

The defence case was the baby may have experienced a seizure in "arching" back and out of Smith's arms following the mother's alleged attack, those injuries then compounded by the fall.

Smith says he lied to police about the injuries the child had sustained before dropping him because he felt sorry for the mother.

He raised the alarm about the child with neighbours early on February 9, 2019. After an ambulance arrived, the baby was taken to hospital with extensive bruising and went into cardiac arrest early that morning.

Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter accepting he should have sought medical help earlier, but the Crown rejected this.

The mother denied Smith's story in evidence saying her baby was perfectly happy and healthy when she left after the couple had driven about town sourcing ice.

Defence barrister Paul Rosser QC accused her of lying, pointing to multiple texts in which she spoke of her frustration at the child's crying.

"I can't even rest, (the baby) just cries and I'm very very very sick. I'm going to lose it soon," one read.

He said there was evidence the mother felt no attachment and had no interest in the baby and during the last week of his short life showed escalating tension due to his behaviour.

Medical scans later found the baby suffered fractures to his skull, severe brain swelling, haemorrhages to the head and eyes, spinal chord trauma and extensive bruising to his legs, arms, head and neck.

Smith will be sentenced at a later date.

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