Generic image of a baby’s legs.
Generic image of a baby’s legs.

Enraged father shook ‘not manly enough’ newborn baby

A FATHER who shook his five-week-old baby so violently he almost died has been jailed for at least five years.

James Tipene, 33, blamed an abusive childhood for his violent attacks on his newborn baby boy.

He said he had grown up to believe "men don't cry" and was frustrated that his little boy "wasn't manly enough".

When he was woken by the child in the early hours of June 26 last year, Tipene became enraged.

He shook him so violently the child later spent more than a month in hospital undergoing emergency surgeries.

He suffered traumatic brain injuries, oxygen deprivation, seizures and spinal injury.

The little boy remains unable to walk or crawl and is likely to suffer lifelong neurological development.

"I was thinking he's not manly enough," Tipene later said about his child.

"I remember thinking males shouldn't be this way...he has to be a warrior...he has to be a man."

Sentencing him today County Court Judge David Brookes said the little boy was lucky not to be killed by Tipene.

"To call it deplorable is not sufficient to capture the tragic and reprehensible outcome," Judge Brookes said.

"Being a parent is a privilege...a parent should always put their own needs second to that of their child."

Judge Brookes, who imposed a maximum term of seven years and three months, said Tipene failed the basic duty of every parent, to nurture and protect children.

Tipene initially told paramedics and doctors he didn't know how his son sustained life threatening injuries.

He maintained the lie for more than three months.

But he was arrested in September last year after police secretly recorded conversations between him and his partner - the baby's mother - during which he admitted the assault.

The woman, who had Tipene's name tattooed to her neck, supported him in court and described him as a "loving father".

The court heard Tipene's childhood was marred by violence that had led to mental health problems including a formerly undiagnosed depression.

He believed his own violence was triggered by memories of his violent father.

Judge Brookes said while there were a number of mitigating factors in Tipene's favour, there was no excuse for his reprehensible conduct.

However he found Tipene was genuinely remorseful and ashamed of his actions.

Tipene pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly causing serious injury.

He also pleaded guilty to three charges over an unrelated aggravated burglary.

He faces the prospect of being deported back to his native New Zealand at the completion of his sentence.

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