Published Friday, 21 December 2012
The man cannot be named for legal reasons. (© UTV)
Ordering the 25-year-old west Belfast man to spend two years in custody and three years on licence, His Honour Judge Kinney told him: "The court must protect those who cannot protect themselves and must deter those who would injure an infant."
He added that whilst "happily" the eight-month-old baby girl has made a good recovery, she had been entitled to her father's love and support which he had failed to give in his loss of temper.
At the end of his trial in October the 25-year-old, who cannot be identified to protect his daughter's identity, was convicted of causing the infant grievous bodily harm with intent on 3 November, 2010 by a majority verdict of ten to two.
Over the course of the week long trial, the jury heard how the eight-month-old baby girl suffered extensive bruising to her face and head as well as a fracture to the right side of her skull when her father was looking after her for around 20 minutes.
The jury heard how he had been out drinking with friends all night but had come home and shared breakfast with his partner.
Giving evidence to the court, the baby's mother said her daughter was "perfectly fine" when she left the house and her partner was taking the child upstairs for a nap.
However when she returned 20 minutes later, the baby had two black eyes, a bloody nose and extensive bruising over her face with the jury hearing that a CT scan showed a fracture to the right side of her skull.
She told the jury how she had a "freak attack" and was hysterical when she saw her daughter's face.
Arrested and interviewed, the 25-year-old said the only possible explanation he had was that as he was carrying his daughter upstairs to bed, her head accidentally hit the wall.
He continued, saying that as he was putting her down on the bed, the bottle he was carrying between his teeth by the teat, dropped and hit his daughter in the face.
That explanation however was lambasted as "implausible" by consultant paediatrician Dr Patricia Kenny, who described to the jury how the varying nature and widespread bruising suffered by the baby girl must have come from a multiplicity of blows, as if "you have been banging about in a road traffic accident".
Judge Kinney revealed that the defendant is still denying that he was responsible for the injuries or that he lost his temper with the infant - but he accepted that until the incident, he had been a good and loving father who had worked hard.
He said the assault was aggravated because he had "abused the trust" placed in him as his daughter's father and that she was "totally defenceless".