Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Man gets 3 years jail for punching baby

The baby was punched and thrown by Polash Kabhir, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard to the child. Photo / Thinkstock
The baby was punched and thrown by Polash Kabhir, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard to the child. Photo / Thinkstock

A man who shook, smothered and repeatedly punched a 5-month-old baby, causing brain damage and permanent blindness in one eye, has been sentenced to three years and three months imprisonment.

The High Court at Auckland was told that Polash Kabhir, 19, also tried to bribe the baby's mother with $65,000 so she would not give evidence against him.

According to the agreed summary of facts, Kabhir, who was 16 at the time of the attack, had been in a relationship with the baby's mother and they were living together in the Auckland suburb of Mt Wellington.

On October 10, 2010, he was arguing with the mother when the baby began to cry.

The court was told he punched the infant to quieten her and then went to bed.

She continued to cry so he got up and punched her twice more in the head with a closed fist.

Still she cried so he covered her mouth and nose with his hand for about one minute but she continued to cry so he punched her again.

He then picked up the baby out of her cot and shook her violently before throwing back down.

The court was told that before he was to stand trial for the crime he sent the baby's mother a series of text messages offering her $65,000 not to give evidence against him.

He was sentenced by Justice John Priestley today to two years and one month in jail for causing the child grievous bodily harm, and a further one year and one month for attempting to dissuade a witness.

"The baby was totally vulnerable and defenceless,'' Justice Priestley said.

"You were in a parenting role and she was entitled to trust you. Your actions were an inexcusable breach of that trust.''

The court was told that the baby would be permanently blind in one eye and may have permanent neurological damage.
She had since been adopted into a loving, caring home.

- APNZ

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