Benalla’s father shook the baby five days earlier after being frustrated when Lucas wouldn’t stop crying, hitting his head on the ground so hard that he suffered catastrophic head injuries.
McDonald then put the baby back in his rocking chair and went back to playing a video game before falling asleep.
Mother Samantha Duckmanton was cleaning dishes in the kitchen when she heard Lucas make a “high-pitched cry.”
She asked McDonald if it was Lucas, to which he replied, “Yeah, I’m just wrapping him up.”
Initially, the baby was transferred to the Benalla hospital, in the northeast of the state, with life-threatening injuries, before being transferred to the Monash Children’s Hospital.
The 23-year-old Benalla man initially lied to his partner and doctors about what happened, delaying the diagnosis of blunt trauma.
Judge Stephen Kaye, in his sentencing statement today, said that the “spontaneous outburst of anger” had caused the baby’s death, which merited a severe sentence.
“As a result of his actions, Lucas will never get out of childhood, never experience his adolescence or mature into adulthood,” he said.
“His senseless and irresponsible act of furious violence deprived him of his most basic right, his right to life.”
The court heard that McDonald suffered from anger management problems, exacerbated by his addictions to cannabis and video games.
The judge said it was clear that McDonald was young, immature and not coping with the pressures of raising two very young children at the time of the offense.
However, he believed that McDonald had experienced some remorse over the death of his son.
“I accept, on the balance of the odds, that you experience some remorse, not only for the situation you’ve put yourself in, but for the loss of Lucas, and the fact that it was your violent actions that caused his death. ,” she said.
“It is important that the sentence I impose on you is sufficient to ensure that you yourself know that any other act of violence of the kind in which you participated in this case will have serious consequences.
“The prayer will be designed to instill in you some understanding and perception of the need for you to learn to control your anger and exercise restraint when your emotions are challenged.”
Duckmanton said last week that he wishes he had protected his son.
“I couldn’t protect him because I trusted Joseph … I loved him,” she said.
“He is not entitled to the title of father as far as I am concerned, so I think that will be his life sentence.”