The Russian man Dimitri Sandul, father of 17-month-old Emilyan Sandul who passed away after being left unattended in a parked car at the ‘Goals’ gymnasium car park on January 21, has been sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment.
Sandul, who is aged 39, along with his wife 29-year-old Viktoria, were on holiday in Seychelles along with their two other children, one aged 4 and the other aged 6.
Mr Sandul pled guilty to the amended charge of wilfully neglecting, abandoning or exposing a child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering, moral danger or injury to health, contrary to Section 70 (1B) of the Children Act and Section 22 (a) of the Penal Code, before the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon.
He also admitted to the facts of the case laid down by the prosecution, who noted that the couple went to the gym and had left the child unattended for at least one hour, and upon returning found him unresponsive. After taking him to the Anse Royale hospital, the doctor tried to resuscitate the baby but was unsuccessful, and the child was certified dead at around 2.15 pm.
Despite both Mr Sandul and his wife being charged with manslaughter and child cruelty contrary to the Children’s Act on February 6, Mrs Sandul was discharged from the case last Friday, and the charge of manslaughter was also dropped against Mr Sandul upon the request of the prosecution.
In handing down the sentence, presiding Judge David Esparon stated that the omission of Mr Sandul which led to the death of his child amounted not only to negligence, but to “gross negligence or recklessness”, and that a custodial sentence is appropriate in the case.
Judge Esparon noted that court considered the mitigating factors put forward by his Counsel, Alexia Amesbury, in that he is a first-time offender, that he is the sole breadwinner, and that he pleaded guilty at the first instance, thereby saving court’s precious time.
Mrs Amesbury had also urged court to consider that the couple had already got a severe punishment with the passing away of their child, and pleaded for a suspended sentence.
He however pointed out that unlike the three cases relied upon by Counsel Amesbury whereby court imposed suspended prison sentences, the incident did not occur a few hours after the child’s birth, nor did Counsel raise any arguments relating to difficulties and hardships, or depression, as was the case in the cited case law.
The maximum sentence for the offence as stipulated by the law is a term of five years’ imprisonment, and, or a fine of R50,000.
The time Mr Sandul spent on remand is to be deducted from his sentence, and he has thirty days within which to appeal to the Court of Appeal should he be dissatisfied with the sentence.
Source: Seychelles Nation