Jail for abusing 9-month-old baby

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Piripi Sisley in the High Court of Rotorua today.
Piripi Sisley in the High Court of Rotorua today.

A Rotorua man who caused bleeding to the brain of a 9-month-old baby has been sent to jail for three years.

Piripi Te Rame Sisley, 22, was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua today having previously pleaded guilty to wounding the infant with reckless disregard and assaulting him by twisting his ears.

According to the police summary of facts, the victim only identified as 'Baby A' was staying with Sisley and his partner over the Christmas period in 2012. At some point Sisley used both hands to twist the baby's ears, causing bruising.

Neighbours had commented on a baby's loud and persistent crying and had reported a male making loud noises and laughter as if mocking the baby.

At some stage on December 28 Sisley was alone in the bedroom with the baby and carried out a violent assault on the child that caused subdural bleeding and retinal haemorrhages.

"Such injuries can only be caused by the application of significant force, such as a violent shaking and or striking the infant's head against a hard surface," the police summary of facts stated.

Later that day, Sisley took Baby A to his partner and told her he was not breathing and having seizures. Medical assistance was sought and the baby was flown to Auckland's Starship Hospital. He was later discharged into the care of Child, Youth and Family.

Victim impact statements were submitted to the court by the child's carer and pediatrician who was helping with the boy's rehabilitation.

"The victim is nearly two and settled in his new environment however he is also recovering to some extent from his physical injuries," Justice Graham Lang said.

"There is signs of weakness down the left side of his body and it's unknown whether this is likely to be permanent."

It was also unknown how severe and permanent the baby's brain damage was.

"Your offending will have at least some impact [on the baby] for the [remainder] of his life,'' Justice Lang told Sisley.

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