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Four years for breaking newborn's arm

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14:34 CET+01:00
A 36-year-old Swedish man previously convicted for abusing his two week old daughter has had his one-year prison sentence lengthened to four years by the Svea Court of Appeal.

The district court had only convicted the man on one count of abuse in the autumn of 2007, but the appeals court found that he had beaten his daughter on another occasion as well.

The child's mother had also been indicted in the matter, but was acquitted by both the district and appeals courts.

The girl was born on October 2nd, 2007 and 16 days later was taken by her parents to Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital in Solna near Stockholm.

Her right arm was broken and doctors also noticed several older injuries leading them to believe the baby had been subject to brutal abuse.

The parents were arrested the same day and first explained the injuries as having occurred during what they called a violent birth.

When contradictory evidence was presented, the parents then blamed the girl's 20 month old brother.

During district court hearings, the father first admitted that he accidentally injured the girl's arm when he happened to fall on her.

Because the court couldn't find any evidence that the mother had caused the girl's head injuries, only the father was convicted for the less serious abuse.

But the Court of Appeal found that the girl had signs of injuries to her head before the father allegedly fell on her, concluding that the injuries couldn't have been caused in any manner other than violence inflicted by another person.

In issuing its ruling on who had caused the girl's severe head injuries, the appeals court concluded that no one other than the father could have been responsible.

During the beating, the girl suffered life threatening injuries, something the court believed deserved a stiff sentence.

In justifying the lengthened sentence, the court argued that the father took advantage of the girl's helplessness and that as a result, it was unreasonable to hand down a sentence any shorter than four years.

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