Saturday, November 22, 2008

Father responsible for her daughter's seizures gets a slap on the wrist!

A Dartmouth man will not spend any time behind bars for shaking his three-month-old baby so violently that she began having seizures and temporarily went blind.Kevin Bernard Kosinsky, 44, was handed a conditional sentence Monday in Dartmouth provincial court of two years less a day for criminal negligence causing bodily harm to Michaelah Parkyn in 2005.

Three years later, there are signs that the little girl may never fully recover from her injuries. She doesn't speak as well as other kids her age, has trouble understanding simple directions and has yet to be toilet-trained.

Judge Flora Buchan stopped short of placing Mr. Kosinsky on house arrest and instead imposed a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew for the first year of the sentence.

She ordered him to undergo mental health and anger management counselling and a neurological assessment.

After completing the conditional sentence, Mr. Kosinsky will be on probation for 18 months.

Michaelah's mother, Karyn Wolf, stormed out of the courtroom before the sentencing hearing was over and later told reporters she was “completely disgusted” with the sentence given to her former boyfriend.

“I expected more,” Ms. Wolf said.

“I don't understand how he can get a slap on the wrist. My child may never be right.”

A reporter asked Ms. Wolf if it was going to be hard to go home to her 3½ -year-old daughter after the judge's ruling.

“It's never hard to go home to my daughter,” she replied.

“The hard day is going to be when I have to explain all this to her — why her father's not in her life, why she has the learning disabilities that she has, and why, in my mind, he got a slap on the wrist for this.

“That's what's going to be hard.”

Mr. Kosinky, who wore a camouflage jacket and pants, pulled his hoodie up to conceal his face from photographers on his way in and out of court.

Accompanied by his current girlfriend and another woman, he left the building without commenting to reporters.

Michaelah was rushed to hospital on the night of Sept. 14, 2005, suffering from seizures. Her father, who had been looking after her at their Pinecrest Drive apartment, told doctors she had fallen off the couch.

Medical personnel at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax discovered bleeding in Michaelah's brain and behind both eyes. X-rays also revealed one of her ribs had been broken in the past.

The infant remained in hospital for a month while doctors worked to control her seizures, which sometimes lasted 80 minutes.

She was monitored by specialists for more than a year and required physiotherapy until she started walking at age 1½.

Mr. Kosinsky, of Windmill Road, went on trial last year and was convicted in July. The Crown wanted him sentenced to two years in federal prison while the defence asked for a conditional sentence of between 18 and 24 months.

He has never admitted abusing his daughter but two weeks ago told the court he was sorry “for what happened to my daughter. I failed my daughter ... and I have to live with that the rest of my life. I love my little girl so much.”

“This has been a challenging case from the start,” Judge Buchan said Monday. “At the sentencing stage, it is no less so.”

The judge described the case as “a single episode of loss of control” rather than a pattern of abuse.

“This was not a premeditated crime,” she said.

Judge Buchan said she was satisfied that Mr. Kosinksy, who had no previous criminal record, poses no danger to the public and that a conditional sentence can “provide appropriate denunciation and deterrence.”

She ordered Mr. Kosinsky, who works as a traffic controller, to complete 240 hours of community service by the end of 2009.

Crown attorney Cheryl Byard said she was “a little disappointed” but not surprised by the sentence.
“We asked for some jail time given the injuries that Michaelah sustained and how this has impacted on the family,” Ms. Byard said.

“However, Her Honour has done a thorough analysis and considered the purpose and principles of sentencing, the aggravating and mitigating factors, and has made a thorough decision. A conditional sentence is within the range.”


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