A Melbourne man accused of killing his three-month-old son by shaking him will stand trial after being granted bail.
Scott Hammond, 27, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and child homicide following a committal hearing at Geelong Magistrates Court.
According to KevinMd.com, “Shaken baby syndrome was first described in the 1960s to describe the combination of several injuries: subdural hematoma (bleeding around the brain), retinal hemorrhages (bleeding at the back of the eye), and brain swelling. Rib fractures are also common because the person doing the shaking typically squeezes the child’s chest hard enough to crack ribs. How do these injuries happen with shaking? The fundamental cause is that a small baby has a relatively large head compared to the rest of his body and is unable to hold his head firmly in place because the muscles aren’t strong enough yet to do that. So shaking snaps the head back and forth, generating very large forces inside the skull as the brain bangs back and forth. This can lead to rupture of some of the small veins that surround the brain, as well as tiny vessels in the back of the eye. The brain then often swells afterward, as any tissue does when injured. If death or severe injury follows, it is generally because of the brain swelling. If ribs are broken from squeezing the chest, the fractures happen at the back of the bones where the ribs come off the spinal column. It is often illustrated in this way.”
The Colac man was charged in February after baby Braxton Hammond was found unresponsive in October 2011 and later died in hospital.
The infant reportedly suffered a head injury, as well as rib and leg fractures, with the injuries alleged to have been the result of severe shaking.
During the hearing, an expert from the United States National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome said the child’s injuries did not appear to be accidental, the ABC reports.
‘It appears there’s evidence of impact, but the injuries are most consistent with some type of violent shaking,’ Professor John Alexander said.
‘Pre-mobile children don’t get injuries like these without the absence of adult involvement.’
Earlier this year, a court heard that police initially suspected Hammond, as well as Braxton’s mother Nikita Cook, after they began investigating in 2011.
But detectives from the Homicide Squad were able to rule out Ms. Cook as a person of interest because of the timing of the injuries the child sustained.
Previously, the court also reportedly heard Hammond had not wanted children and had been violent while Ms. Cook was pregnant.
Hammond was granted bail and will appear again on December 11 in The Supreme Court.
Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.