11-month-old baby suffered fractured skull, accused ‘was under influence of drugs’

Man charged with attempted murder of 11-month-old girl placed under bill of indictment • court hears how 11-month-old victim had suffered broken leg four days before assault

An 11-month-old girl who was admitted to hospital in critical condition suffered a fractured skull, severe bruising and had broke her leg four days before, while the alleged perpetrator  – the mother’s partner – was under the influence of drugs and alcohol after a drunken night out at the local feast, a court today.

The remark was made in the compilation of evidence against a 27-year-old man from Zabbar, resident in Hamrun, who is standing charged of the attempted murder of his partner’s 11-month baby. The girl had been in danger of dying but is now in stable condition.

Medical tests revealed that the girl, four days before the alleged assault, suffered a broken leg, and that “as a result of the delay, doctors would have to put metal pins in her legs.”

Taking the witness stand, inspector Chris Pullicino said that the accused – whose name cannot be published to protect the identity of the children - had initially blamed his partner for the girl’s injuries, who on her part insisted that she was unaware how the injuries were caused.

“During her interrogation the mother showed me footage of that day, during which the accused was in a drunken state and under the influence of drugs,” Pullicino said.

Confronted with the video, the man withdrew allegations he had made against his partner and admitted to shaking the baby and throwing her in the cot because she was “crying and making loud noises”.

“The girl hit her head against the cot when she was thrown,” the Inspector said.

Allegedly, the accused then went downstairs and was initially against calling the ambulance. The girl’s mother told the police that she did not know how her daughter was injured but claimed that the accused had previously “acted violently” when around the children.

On her part, prosecuting inspector Edel Mary Camilleri told the court that the mother had claimed that the girl may have her suffered her head injuries at the hands of her [the daughter’s] brothers – claiming that she may have been hit by a plastic toy star.

“The girl was suffering from a fractured skull and severe bruising to her head. The doctors also noticed that some of her injuries were old and had occurred before. When the police entered, the girl was drifting in and out of unconsciousness and I also noticed that her right leg was in a cast and had severely bruised knees.”

“These injuries were not accidental, but it was clear that they were caused by someone else,” Inspector Camilleri underlined.

She also explained that the accused, his partner, and their children had spent a day at the local feast and returned home at 5am. The inspector said that the accused admitted to have been under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and cannabis.

On her part, the victim’s mother – who is currently facing separate criminal proceedings charged with neglecting her children – is said to have smoked cannabis on the day of the incident.

Moreover, the inspector testified that the girl, as well as her two brothers – who are aged seven and four years old and share a different father – had a “foul smell and had very dirty nails.” The inspector said that a subsequent search at the mother’s home discovered that the children were living in squalid conditions.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit ruled that there is enough prima facie evidence and placed the accused under a bill of indictment.

Inspectors Chris Pullicino, Mary Edel Camilleri, and Sylvana Briffa prosecuted. Lawyer Joseph Mizzi represented the man, while Lawyers Michael and Rebekah Tanti Dougall represented the victim’s mother.

The case has been adjourned to October 30.