Man jailed 10 years for bashing son to death

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am

A scaffolding worker who killed his two-month-old baby and admitted he had thrown and punched him was jailed for 10 years yesterday.

The sentencing judge said Gurung Hem Kumar, 26, had not heeded a psychiatrist's warning to walk away from his drinking habit and imposed a heavy sentence even though he pleaded guilty.

Gurung was born and educated in India but said his family came from Nepal. He faced one count of manslaughter for the death of his son, Janus, in April last year at the Court of First Instance.

'This is an adult man fuelled by drink, drink about which he was warned [about] inflicting injury on a son,' the judge Clare-Marie Beeson said. His only mitigation, she said, was his guilty plea.

Gurung told police that Janus' head had been bumped when he tried to propel or throw him into a cot while tipsy from alcohol, the court previously heard. Days before that, he told them he punched Janus with all his might after getting home drunk because the baby's cries had annoyed him.

According to reports, Gurung had not been suffering from any psychiatric problems when he injured his son. A psychiatrist he consulted in 2008 had concluded that he needed to stop drinking and that he was having problems adjusting to marriage and life in Hong Kong.

Defence barrister Mahinder Panesar had earlier said that neither Gurung nor his wife had wanted to get married, that it had been an arranged marriage, and that he had not wanted the child. 'This is a man who was trapped in a relationship from which he could not get out, and now there was a baby as well,' she said.

The court heard that Gurung and his wife took an unconscious Janus to hospital on April 11 last year. The baby's condition deteriorated, and he died on April 22. Scans revealed he had a fractured skull and ribs and a torn spleen, according to senior public prosecutor Vincent Wong Wing-sum. The cause of death was a fractured skull and a brain injury.