Baby girl ‘did not seem to be breathing’

A SOCIAL worker visited the Gold Coast home of two infant twins the morning one of the babies was allegedly shaken to unconsciousness, a court was told.

The seven-month-old girl's father was today committed to stand trial in the Southport District Court for grievous bodily harm against the young girl.

Before the 29-year-old was committed to stand trial, the court heard evidence from five people who were in the house on July 11 last year, before the baby girl was rushed to hospital.

St Vincent de Paul family intervention practitioner Sandra Dunn said she started visiting the father and the two babies about five weeks before the incident and after a referral from the Department of Child Safety.

Ms Dunn said her job was to check the children were being correctly cared for and to provide advice to the father.

The court was told the father was the primary carer for the twins and their mother was not allowed to see the children unsupervised.

Ms Dunn said she had gone to the home the morning the child was hospitalised for a scheduled visit.

She had noted the baby's eyes had gone cross-eyed and out of focus, but she told the court she did not think too much of it as it was not uncommon for premature babies that age.

"I remember saying (to my boss) there was a problem with (the baby's) eyes which needed attention later on," she said.

She told the court that during her visit the baby and her twin brother had been alert.

"Her eyes were following (the father) around the room," she said.

A week before the baby was hospitalised, Ms Dunn went on holidays but no one was arranged to visit the family in her place.

"Usually we would tell the client (to call) if they had any concerns and they were given a card," she said.

"Child safety were made aware and could increase visits (if needed)."

Ms Dunn said on the day of the alleged incident she was returning to the Beenleigh office when she received a call that the baby had been taken to hospital.

She said she met the father at the hospital and he appeared distraught.

Ms Dunn told the court that weeks earlier the father had called the Queensland Ambulance Service when the young girl suddenly "went limp".

Paramedics placed the baby on oxygen and she began to behave normally.

Ambulance crews did not take the girl to hospital.

The court was told the father, a tradesman, was living with three other adults.

The flatmates told the court the tradesman had been an attentive father to the young twins.

The morning the girl was hospitalised they said they did not hear anything out of the ordinary until the father called for help and to phone for an ambulance.

"The next thing I see he is running from the lounge room to the kitchen," one said.

"(The baby's) condition was she wasn't making any sound, she didn't seem to be breathing."

The woman said she did not see the father do anything to the child.

She told the court she called the ambulance and took over the resuscitation of the child.

When paramedics arrived, the father went with them to the hospital while his flatmates looked after the other baby.

The father will stand trial in the coming months.



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