No jail for man who dropped baby and failed to alert medics

The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

A man who dropped a baby after claiming he tripped over a cat was spared a jail sentence after failing to alert paramedics and doctors to what had happened.

Farid Layeri later told police that he lost his balance, with the 15-month-old boy dropping out of his arms head first and hitting a bannister before falling down stairs.

A judge told Layeri: “That was an accident and nobody disputes the fact it was purely an accident.”

Lord Burns said: “But what is unforgivable and and what will have to remain on your conscience for the rest of your life is that you failed to tell the medical authorities what had happened.”

The judge said that, as a result, “the child’s injuries increased and in particular the bleeding on his brain increased causing damage to the child’s brain which will be permanent”.

Lord Burns told Layeri, 44, at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You consciously took the decision to put your own selfish interests before those of the child.”

He told the first offender that he accepted a submission that it was was out of character and that there was a low risk that he would re-offend.

“Nothing this court can do can repair the damage to this unfortunate child or assist the parents, in the years ahead, in looking after the child,” he said.

Lord Burns told Layeri that he would impose a community payback order on him as a direct alternative to custody and ordered that he carry out 300 hours of unpaid work. He will be under supervision for three years.

Layeri, of London Street, Edinburgh, had originally faced a charge of attempting to murder the baby on February 8 in 2014 at a house in the city.

But the Crown earlier accepted his guilty plea to culpably and recklessly causing further unnecessary suffering or injury to the child by failing to seek immediate and appropriate medical aid and failing to disclose to a 999 operator, paramedics and treating doctors what had happened. This was to the victim’s severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life.

Layeri’s wife was a child minder and when she was out working as a hospital domestic it was agreed that he would look after the infant.

The boy’s mother had dropped him off in the morning and left to go to work with her son in good health, advocate depute Jane Farquharson told the court.

Layeri’s wife had gone to work but later phoned and learned that the boy was still sleeping. But at 1pm, Layeri contacted his sister sounding panicked and said the child was limp. He also called his wife and said he was “all floppy”.

An ambulance was called and Layeri told the operator that the infant had been wrapped in a blanket and had fallen off a bed. Paramedics took him to the a sick children’s hospital and he was placed in a medically induced coma.

A consultant came to the view that the boy’s injuries were not compatible with the history given earlier that day and police and social workers were alerted.

The child was discharged from hospital the following month with noticeable weaknesses in his right arm and leg, as well as severe visual impairment.

The court heard that, at the time, it was anticipated he would require lifelong care as a result of his brain injury.

When police contacted Layeri, he said: “I want to tell you the truth. I dropped the baby down the stairs. I didn’t tell the truth at the time.” He said as he was about to go down the stairs he tripped on the cat and lost his balance.

The court was told that Layeri’s failure to act promptly and give an accurate account of what had happened to the treating medical team compromised the child’s care. The long term prognosis for the child remains uncertain.

Defence counsel John Scullion QC said father-of-two Layeri had expressed genuine remorse for his actions.

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