Child welfare expert hits out at sentence

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  • Anger at courts: Child protection expert Sheelagh Cooper feels sentence sent out wrong message

    Anger at courts: Child protection expert Sheelagh Cooper feels sentence sent out wrong message


Child protection expert Sheelagh Cooper said yesterday that a man who dropped his infant son out of a first-floor window should have received a stiffer sentence.

She was speaking after Anthony Davis was last week given a nine-month suspended sentence and two years probation for the incident, which caused the child only minor injuries.

Ms Cooper, chairman of the Coalition for the Protection of Children said: “In my opinion this most recent sentence fails to recognise the very real likelihood that this baby may well have died.

“We must ask whether this sentence truly reflects the value that we place on the welfare and safety of our children. “

Ms Cooper said April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month and that it was “a time for reflection and review of the strength of our commitment to protecting children”.

She added: “While we as a community have made considerable headway in terms of public education through Saving Children and Revealing Secrets and empowering children through the Coalition’s Speak Up Be Safe programme, a recent sentencing decision suggests we still have some progress to be made in responding to the cases that finally reach the courts.

“We have to ask ourselves as a community whether such an act should result in more than a term of probation with a suspended sentence.”

The Supreme Court heard on Friday that the incident happened on July 2 last year, the same day Davis’s son was baptised.

After the ceremony, family and friends went to the home of the baby’s mother for a celebration.

Davis, of Hamilton Parish, drank heavily throughout the evening and became “unbearable”. He was asked to leave, but refused and an argument broke out.

Davis picked up his son from a baby seat as he argued with the child’s mother and refused to hand the child over.

Davis carried his son into a bedroom while the child’s uncle tried to get him to hand over the baby, but Davis dropped the child out of the second-storey window as the row continued.

The baby landed on the grass below and escaped with soft tissue injuries to his face and hip.

The court heard Davis admitted causing the child bodily harm and voluntarily sought treatment.

The child’s mother said in a victim impact statement that the incident was “surreal and devastating”, but asked the court for leniency.

Davis told the court: “My actions on that day were unconscionable.”

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