POLITICS

Calgary judge sentenced father who slit his infant son's throat last summer

08/31/2012 04:45 EDT | Updated 10/31/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - An Alberta judge has sentenced a man to five years in prison for slashing his infant son on the throat and abdomen with a butcher knife, saying the father's violent actions were spawned by "anger, rage and jealousy" toward his wife.

The 33-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the child's identity, was charged after police officers responded to a 911 call at a home in the city's southeast on Aug. 13, 2011.

They found an angry and agitated man with a baby inside the home. The baby had been cut with a kitchen knife and was rushed to hospital. The officers provided first aid to the child who was in critical condition. He is now in good health and home with his family

"In a very cold-blooded and calculating manner he put him on the floor, undid his clothes and cut him twice," said Judge Mike Dinkel.

"The accused used the attack on the child to inflict pain on the mother. The child was a tool," Dinkel said.

"It was based on anger, rage and jealousy over the mistaken belief that his wife ... was cheating on him. He knew what he was doing and intended to do harm."

Dinkel said the cut on the 11-month-old boy's throat was 15 centimetres long and the wound to his abdomen was 20 centimetres long. He said the child lost about one-quarter of the blood in his body and the slash to the throat was only a centimetre away from major veins and arteries.

He said another aggravating factor was the accused not providing any medical assistance to his son. He tried to stop police from entering the home, the judge said.

"He brandished the bloody butcher knife and demanded to be shot. He knew the child was in medical distress."

The accused, who sat quietly in the prisoner's docket wearing a blue jumpsuit, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. The sentence was mitigated by his early guilty plea and that he had previously been a good and caring father. He also has the support of Calgary's Sudanese community, the judge noted. Several members were in attendance at the sentencing Friday.

With time already served the man still has nearly four years left on his sentence.

The Crown had been asking for between six and seven years while the defence wanted a sentence in the 2 1/2-year range.

His lawyer, Alain Hepner wasn't surprised at the judge's decision.

"This child was 11 months old and he was the parent. That is the crux of the matter really from the judge's point of view and understandably," said Hepner.

"I think he was prepared for any sentence the judge was going to impose. He felt the remorse and felt he should be punished for what happened."

Crown lawyer Margot Engley, who called the crime "a horrific case," was satisfied with the outcome.

"It's such a serious case and we were seeking more time than what the judge sentenced him to, however it is a significant amount of time," she said.

"We can't be happy with it but we might be satisfied."