09/14/2011 01:14 EDT | Updated 11/14/2011 05:12 EST

Newfoundland baby death draws 5-year sentence

A western Newfoundland man convicted of causing a baby's death more than four years ago was sent to prison Wednesday.

Corner Brook resident Jeffery Tippett, 36, was given a sentence of five years, less time served, during a hearing at Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, following a conviction of manslaughter in the 2007 death of 11-month-old Tameron Rose.

Minutes after the hearing, Tameron Rose's grandmother said the child's death would be easier to accept if Tippett explained how the boy died.

"It would help, I guess, [with] some closure if there was something to tell us what happened, or he's sorry it happened," Evelyn Rose told reporters outside the courthouse.

"There's been nothing ... just a smirk or a smile," she said. "How can you forgive him? You can't."

A jury in July had found Tippett guilty in the death of Rose, whose babysitter was Tippett's former common-law wife.

Evidence presented at the trial showed that Tameron Rose sustained severe trauma to his head on Jan. 30, 2007, with some medical experts testifying that the trauma could not have happened accidentally.

The jury was not presented with a theory on what caused the trauma, which occurred at the home of Tanya Tulk, the boy's babysitter.

On Wednesday, Evelyn Rose suggested that stress of some kind may have been responsible.

"All it would have taken was a phone call to say we can't deal with this, come and pick him up," she said.

Justice Alan Seaborn sided with the Crown in selecting a sentence for Tippett. The prosecution had said a sentence between five and seven years was appropriate, while the defence had recommended between two and three years.

Because Tippett has been in custody for months, he was given a time-served credit of 298 days.

Tippett has consistently maintained that he did nothing to harm the child, throughout a legal saga that included a 2010 mistrial as well as the 2009 dismissal of the first jury called in the case.

Tippett had originally been charged with second-degree murder. That charge was downgraded to manslaughter in June during the course of the trial.