Vicious slap from mum's lover broke toddler's thigh bone
A TODDLER was left with her right leg dangling after a vicious slap by her mother's lover broke the thigh bone.
The man intended to discipline the two- and-a-half-year old girl after hearing her swear at her sister, but his slaps resulted in serious injury.
The 40-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to unlawfully doing grievous bodily harm to the girl on March 27, 2018. The Crown stated it was an act of domestic violence.
Crown prosecutor Caitlin Thompson said the man was the mother's de-facto.
The incident happened at 10.30pm when the toddler was heard arguing with her sister and swore.
The man entered the room and slapped her three times on the right thigh, the court heard.
Ms Thompson said the man picked up the girl, walked across a hallway and dropped her on to a bed.
The toddler's mother heard her screams and discovered the upset girl, finding her leg was "dangling and sloppy".
The man said he slapped her too hard.
She was taken to the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital and treated for a broken femur which was placed in a plaster cast for six weeks.
"He admits he slapped her two or three times then dropped her on a bed in the main bedroom," Ms Thompson said.
The man was arrested on March 28 and spent 16 days in custody before being granted bail.
In a victim impact statement, the toddler's mother spoke of the difficulties, discomfort and pain the toddler went through wearing a cast.
There had also been an emotional impact, the mother now feeling anxious when her daughter played or ran.
A medical report said there was some leg turn-in when the girl walked but the prognosis was positive as she grew.
"It is an act of domestic violence. He was in a position of trust and care of a vulnerable child," Ms Thompson said.
"It was a loss of control but there were multiple slaps."
The prosecutor said a jail term of between three and five years was in range, and the seriousness of the offence required the man spend more than 16 days in jail.
"What (the man) did was an act of domestic discipline that becomes unlawful by using a bit too much force," defence barrister Scott Neaves said.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said court must sentence the man, taking into account the force of the blows resulting in a broken leg.
He said it was likely the break was further displaced when the toddler was dropped on the bed.
Judge Horneman-Wren accepted the man was motivated by disciplining the child, but when he acted excessively it became an unlawful act.
Mr Neaves said it was clearly out of character for the man, who then aged 39, had not previously offended.
His own background had included violence but he had become a mature adult with no history of violence.
He said the man was remorseful and promptly sought help including anger management and mental health programs.
There had been issues with alcohol and medical evidence of a persistent depressive and anxiety disorder.
Mr Neaves said the professional opinion was there was a low risk of re-offending.
He noted a medical report showed there was a minor difference in the toddler's leg gait which would remodel in time.
Judge Horneman-Wren said it was the blows that broke the toddler's leg.
"The use of excessive force was in an act of discipline but she was a child only two and a half," he said.
"It was very much a breach of trust by you. I accept there was no intent by you."
He acknowledged the break affected the girl's gait, sleeping patterns, and it had been emotionally confusing.
He said it was to the man's credit he sought help but his crime required more time in custody.
Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced the man to a three-year jail term with parole release on April 20 next year.
With the time already spent in custody, he will have served eight months.