The 37-year-old man was given a three month suspended sentence and compelled to complete parenting classes. He admitted to getting distracted on his way home to his son while playing a game on his smartphone.
The father of the boy who was saved by France's daring "Spider-Man" in May was charged with negligence on Tuesday by a Paris court. The man received a three-month suspended sentence and will have to attend a court-ordered parenting class.
His son was just 4 years old when he was found dangling off a fourth-story balcony in the French capital, much to the dismay of horrified onlookers. In a viral moment seen round the world, 22-year-old Malian immigrant Mamoudou Gassama climbed the building's balconies Spider-Man-style to save the toddler.
Gassama was rewarded with French citizenship, a job in the fire and rescue service, and a personal thank you from President Emmanuel Macron.
The trial of the boy's 37-year-old father heard that the pair were together at the time of the incident, as his mother was on a visit to her native Reunion island. The father said he had taken his child to Disneyland on May 26.
Father distracted by Pokemon Go
On May 27, the father had to go out to buy groceries, and told the court that he left his son watching TV at his own insistence. He then admitted that he had failed to consider the safety risk in not locking the sliding glass door to the balcony.
He also admitted that he became distracted, and was gone longer than planned, because he was playing the popular smartphone game Pokemon Go.
The boy told police that he had gone out onto the balcony because he father was gone so long, he thought he had returned to Disneyland and wanted to follow him.
After being seen to by social workers, the child was returned to his father the next day. Prosecutors had been seeking a six-month suspended sentence, noting that if Gassama had not walked past, the toddler "might now be dead."
During the trial, the man's lawyer argued that prosecutors had taken only "particularly reductive" parts of the story in order to paint his client as bad parents, when he fact he had taken precautions to ensure his son's safety while he was gone.
The parents have expressed their gratitude towards Gassama.