A South Australian woman avoided a prison sentence despite pleading guilty to bashing her 8-month-old daughter with a slotted spoon.
Lorien Norman, 26, pleaded guilty to causing harm with intent, an offense that carries a maximum 13-year-prison sentence, according to the Daily Mail. But, the judge ruled that since the child’s injuries were “likely to resolve,” Norman would be released on a two-year good behavior bond and a $500 fee.
In October 2016, Norman called police threatening to throw her 8-month-old, Evie, off a balcony. When authorities arrived, they found the child’s face covered in bruises from where Norman hit her with a slotted spoon.
Norman and her child were taken to the hospital, where doctors examined the child’s bruised face, determining that she had endured “at least eight separate blows to the face and body.”
Her forehead, cheeks, ears, neck, and arms were covered in bruises.
District Court Judge Jack Costello made a statement during his ruling: “[While] 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,” he said.
“In this respect I particularly note the opinion of the treating pediatrician to the effect that there was no evidence of bony or intracranial injury and that your daughter’s physical injuries were likely to completely resolve.”
A good behavior bond means that Norman will be released with no further penalties as long as does not re-offend.
According to the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, a judge can often set the conditions of what constitutes “good behavior.” The guilty party may be required to pay a fee, perform community service, abstain from drugs or alcohol, attend a specified educational program, or be under the supervision of a community corrections officer.
Norman will be closely watched by a community corrections officer and will be required to attend counseling, the Mail reports. She is also not permitted to own a firearm.
The child’s father, Shane McMahon, believes that the sentence was a gross misuse of justice.
“I’m disgusted — I’m truly speechless,” he said. “I’ve raised [Evie and her sister] single handedly, and she gets 10 months of a sentence that carries a maximum of 13 years!”
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