An Adelaide woman has escaped jail despite pleading guilty to the aggravated assault of her eight-month-old daughter.
Father Shane McMahon has expressed his outrage at the South Australian district court’s decision, claiming to Nine.com.au that her actions were fuelled by jealousy over his new relationship.
Lorien Norman, 26, called police last October threatening to throw Evie off the balcony of her unit, the court heard.
When police officers arrived and noticed bruises all over Evie’s face, Norman initially lied and told officers the baby had fallen at a play gym.
The pair were taken to hospital where a paediatrician determined that Evie had been physically assaulted and hit in the face and body at least eight times.
“In the DPP’s submission the injuries were caused by reason of a sustained and deliberate assault by you upon your daughter which involved multiple blows, at least one of which was with a slotted spoon to your daughter’s face and that this indicated more than a momentary loss of control on your part,” Judge Jack Costello said in his sentencing on August 30.
Norman pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault which usually carries a maximum jail term of 13 years.
In his sentencing, Judge Jack Costello noted Norman’s history of drug and alcohol abuse but also that the mother-of-two had taken steps to her turn her life around.
“Whilst any assault of a child, particularly one of such a tender age and vulnerability, by a parent stands as a gross breach of trust, your offending is nevertheless far from the most serious of offending of this type in terms of the degree of force involved and the duration of the offending,” Costello said.
Norman was given a reduced sentence of one year and nine months because of her guilty plea, which Judge Costello then fully suspended after Norman agreed to pay a $500 bond guaranteeing her good behaviour for two years.
Mr McMahon, who shares two children with Norman and now has full custody of them both, said he was stunned by the court’s decision, which he heard about only yesterday through an acquaintance that works at a law firm.
“Where is the justice for Evie, it’s absolutely disgraceful,” he told Nine.com.au.
“She has gone and bashed my child and threatened to kill her. It’s just gut wrenching.”
Mr McMahon claims Norman had just found out about a new relationship he was in and he believes the attack was done with a view of getting back at him.
The attack also occurred on the anniversary of the day of his father’s death from cancer, a time of year his former partner knew he found particularly upsetting, Mr McMahon said.
“She knew that I had gotten a new partner, she knew that it was my dad’s anniversary, and she did that to Evie,” he said.
On the day of the assault, police officers knocked on McMahon’s door asking if he knew where Norman was.
“A few hours later I had a phone call from major crime scene detectives saying Evie was at hospital with life-threatening injuries,” Mr McMahon said.
“I rocked up there and she (Evie) was just beside herself. All she wanted to do was have a bottle. They couldn’t console her and as soon as she got into my arms she just went quiet.”
“All she wanted was a bottle but she couldn’t even drink it because she was so bruised and could barely open her mouth. It was horrible.”
Mr McMahon said he planned to fight the decision and was meeting with his lawyer next week to see what could be done to appeal it.
“How do they expect me to hand over my child to her? How do you expect me to put her back in the arms of that person?” he said.