Teen dad who hurt baby goes free

No jail: Teen dad who hurt his son has avoided. Picture: Gerald Moscarda/The West Australian

An eight-week-old baby had at least 10 fractured ribs and a broken leg after he was abused by his teenage father who was overwhelmed by the demands of work and parenthood, a Perth court was told yesterday.

The baby's 19-year-old father was given a two-year suspended jail term after he admitted reckless conduct that caused a child in his care or control to suffer harm.

The infant's multiple fractures, including a fractured shin bone and the broken ribs, were detected in October after the baby was taken to hospital by its parents for another reason.

Doctors also found other possible injuries that were healing at different rates, indicating they were inflicted at different times, the District Court was told.

The court was told the teenager admitted to handling the child roughly three times, including squeezing him thinking it would calm him. He said he "snapped" but admitted that afterwards, he knew what he had done was wrong.

Defence lawyer Anthony Eyers said the teen had been struggling with the demands of becoming a parent, was under pressure at work and had lacked the maturity and experience to cope.

He said the incidents came out of despair and frustration and were a "clear illustration of someone with the best intentions but not the ability to put those best intentions into effect".

The court was told the father confessed to child abuse squad officers, telling them he was angry and frustrated and took it out on the child.

Judge Anette Schoombee said she accepted the man had not intended to hurt his son and had not been prepared for the demands of having a baby.

The court was told the baby did not have permanent injuries and the teen now had only supervised access to his son. Judge Schoombee said there was a need to send a strong message that mistreatment of children was a serious offence and there would be suitable punishment.