A MAN who hit his four-year-old daughter over the head with a cricket bat “as hard as he could” while the girl was sleeping was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis and had heard voices telling him to hurt the child, Newcastle District Court has heard.
The man, now 40, who cannot be named because it would identify the young girl, gave evidence during a sentence hearing on Friday, telling Judge Tanya Bright he was concerned he had inflicted permanent damage when he struck the girl on the morning of February 19, 2017.
“Very ashamed,” the man said when his barrister, Rebecca Suters, asked how he felt. “Because no child deserves that.”
The man, a long-term drug addict, had been using cannabis, ice and Xanax up until two days before the sickening attack.
And when he awoke on February 19 he was hearing voices telling him his daughter was going to have a miserable life and he should put her out of his misery.
The man says he struck the child once to the head “as hard as he could” while she slept, but the girl later told police her father had hit her three times.
“It’s difficult to imagine a more vulnerable victim than a sleeping child,” DPP solicitor Kristy Mulley said on Friday. The girl was later discovered by her grandmother and taken to John Hunter Hospital suffering multiple skull fractures and bruising to the brain.
Ms Suters had submitted that the man’s drug-induced psychosis reduced his level of moral culpability, but both Ms Mulley and Judge Bright disagreed.
“It explains his conduct,” Judge Bright said. “But it is self-induced psychosis, taking drugs of his own volition.”
Under cross-examination from Ms Mulley, the man acknowledged he had been admitted to a psychiatric unit in December, 2016, and January, 2017, hearing voices and suffering from a drug-induced psychosis. But both times, once released, he went back to using drugs. “He had ample opportunity to reflect on his drug use and his decline in mental health,” Ms Mulley said. “He was well aware of the connection between the two. And that deprives him of any leniency.”
Judge Bright will sentence the man in September.