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Stephen Palmer outside the Launceston Supreme Court. Stephen Palmer outside the Launceston Supreme Court.
Freedom for baby case dad
A MAN whose eight-week-old baby suffered a broken arm days before he called an ambulance yesterday walked free from the Supreme Court in Launceston.
Stephen Edward Palmer, 30, formerly of Ravenswood, was unable to be sentenced for breaking the child's arm because of doubt on the facts.
He pleaded guilty on Monday to ill-treating a child on the basis that he had failed to get timely treatment.
Chief Justice Ewan Crawford said it seemed obvious the baby's fractures occurred at the hands of Palmer or his partner Kylie Maree Parker, 24.
"The evidence does not establish who," he said.
"The prosecution only asserts he is guilty because he was aware of a significant injury to the child's arm and failed in his parental duty to provide her with appropriate medical treatment and care and caused her unnecessary suffering.
"The court is obliged to sentence him merely on that basis ... the sentence must not include any element of punishment because he may have been the person who caused the injuries."
On Tuesday, Ms Parker was found not guilty of ill-treating a child because of a lack of evidence.
In a police interview, she said Mr Palmer "probably" caused the injury.
Justice Crawford said Palmer had noticed swelling of the arm two or three days before he rang an ambulance on December 22, 2010.
The baby suffered a spiral fracture of the left humerus and two "bucket handle" fractures of the left arm.
"If he was to be sentenced for intentionally injuring the child and causing the fractures, imprisonment would be the appropriate sentence but the limited factual basis presented to the court does not justify that course," Justice Crawford said.
The case was adjourned on condition Mr Palmer not commit an offence punishable by jail for three years.

The Mercury (9-2-2012)
Nick Clark

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Mum cleared on ill-treatment
A TASMANIAN woman has been found not guilty of mistreating her eight-week-old baby.
Chief Justice Ewan Crawford yesterday directed the jury to find Kylie Maree Parker, 24, of Ravenswood, not guilty because there was insufficient evidence against her.
The Department of Public Prosecutions alleged that Ms Parker mistreated the baby by failing to seek timely medical advice.
Ms Parker's partner Stephen Edward Palmer, 29, pleaded guilty on Monday to mistreating the child by breaking her arm on December 22, 2010.
Crown prosecutor Peter Sherriff alleged the injury could have occurred up to a week before the baby was taken to the Launceston General Hospital.
However, Justice Crawford said there was not enough evidence to find beyond reasonable doubt that the injury had occurred up to 10 days beforehand.
Ms Parker admitted to police in a video interview that Palmer got frustrated with the baby. "He probably does, have you asked him?" Ms Parker responded.
She told the court that the couple got up about 5am to feed the baby.
She said the baby would not feed properly, so she went into the bathroom for a smoke.
"I went for a smoke and when I got back she was screaming," Ms Parker said.
She said the couple had called an ambulance, which took them all to the hospital.
Ms Parker said Palmer told her that the baby's arm got caught behind her back when he tried to change her nappy. "He said he heard a crack," she said.
Palmer will appear in the Supreme Court in Launceston for sentencing today.

The Mercury (8-2-2012)
Nick Clark

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