Six months in jail ‘insufficient’ for abusive mother: Turkish Court of Cassation
ANKARA – Oya Armutçu
The Court of Cassation has determined that a six month sentence given to a mother for beating up her four-year-old son is “insufficient,” thereby reversing a local court’s decision.
The ruling was handed down by the Third Penal Chamber, under the presidency of Şebnem Günaydın, the only female head of the penal chamber of the Court of Cassation.
The case concerns a mother in the western province of Bolu, against whom a lawsuit was opened on charges of “deliberately inuring” her son, who was four years old at the time and is now 10 years old. A forensic report had shown burn scars and bruises on the child’s body and also detected nutritional deficiency.
The mother denied the charges and said she had only “lightly hit” the boy for “misbehaving.” The mother claimed the bruises were the result of fights with other children and that the burn scars had happened when he had knocked himself against the stove. The father said he did not have any information regarding the incidents.
On Feb. 23, 2017, the Bolu Second Court of First Instance sentenced the mother to six months in jail, the lowest limit prescribed by the law in cases of such charges. The case was then taken to the Court of Cassation, which reversed the decision by a unanimous vote on Dec. 27, 2017.
“The suspect [mother] has deliberately injured the 2008-born victim, her descendant, who is not in a position to defend himself physically and psychologically,” the high court said in its ruling, demanding that authorities determine whether the beating of the child was a regular occurrence in line with the witnesses’ testimonies and the results of the forensic report. In such a case, the mother could be given a harsher penalty.
The Court of Cassation was said to have sent the case file to the Bolu Second Court of First Instance, which will retry the suspect.
The Court of Cassation’s Third Penal Chamber is known to have given the maximum limit of sentences in cases of violent attacks against spouses, children or family members.