Baby on lap in crash impossible: accused

A Sydney mechanic charged with an infant’s manslaughter told police he didn’t know what caused the fatal injuries but denied having the baby unrestrained on his lap before a fatal crash.

Peter Watfa, 43, pleaded not guilty to the 11-month-old boy’s manslaughter by criminal negligence after a Mercedes collided with his BMW in Sydney’s southwest on February 25, 2019.

The low-speed crash at Lurnea occurred as Watfa was going about a short trip from a pharmacy to a nearby home.

A recorded police interview with the man two months later was played to the jury on the final day of his District Court trial on Tuesday.

The boy was “comfortable” when strapped into his baby capsule in the back of the BMW, Watfa said

The trip to the chemist was the boy’s first trip in the BMW.

“That’s why I think he was so amazed with the sunroof. I’ll never ever forget the look on his face, the smile,” Watfa said.

Describing the baby’s injuries, Watfa said the infant had “something” on his cheek but he didn’t know how those injuries occurred.

Police informed him expert evidence suggested the baby’s injuries were “not consistent with him being in the seat, they’re consistent with him being on your lap”.

“He wasn’t, impossible,” Watfa replied.

He also dismissed suggestions that witnesses saw him get out of the car after the crash with the baby in his arms.

“No, ask the driver of the other car, there’s no way in the world,” he said, asking why he would put the boy on his lap.

“There’s no reason.”

Witnesses testifying at trial have differed about whether the mechanic had the baby in his arms when first exiting the BMW after the crash.

One man on Monday said he wanted to vomit after seeing the baby’s swollen face moments after the crash.

But the Crown said the evidence should leave the jury in no doubt of the baby’s position, highlighting a mark on his cheek that resembles the shape of a BMW logo on the steering wheel.

“There is simply no rational possibility of him receiving that very visible, unique injury without having been in the front of the car,” prosecutor Ken Gilson said in his closing address.

Watfa’s barrister Daniel Petrushnko is expected to deliver his closing address on Tuesday afternoon.

He’s previously told the jury his client had maintained at all times the child was in the baby capsule, with questioning directed to a suggestion Watfa had reached into the back seat to gather the boy and removed him through the driver’s door.

The Fort News