Saturday, 13 February 2016

Jury told child’s injuries could not be accidental

A JUDGE reminded a jury at the trial of a man accused of assaulting a young child that the serious injuries suffered by the victim were in no way caused by an accident.


The Honourable Mr Justice MacDuff told the seven men and five women sitting at Preston Crown Court that it was now up to them to decide who was responsible for leaving the youngster with 23 bone fractures and a potentially life-threatening brain injury.

The judge was yesterday summing up evidence heard during Christopher David Newton’s nine-day trial.

The 23-year-old from Barrow is accused of cruelty to a person under 16 by wilfully assaulting a child, wilfully ill-treating a child, causing grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding between August 4 and September 3 last year.

Newton denies all charges and claims someone else is responsible for causing injuries which were described as “grotesque” by his defence barrister, Mr Richard Vardon, on Thursday.

Judge MacDuff told how a paramedic who had responded to a 999 call had described the child as “floppy” in his evidence and that in his experience a silent baby was a very ill baby.

The judge said basic x-rays taken at Furness General Hospital only showed two fractures but further CT and MRI scans revealed the full extent of the child’s injuries.

Judge MacDuff said: “The fractures to the legs were classic corner fractures caused by non-accidental injury. The child’s leg must have been shaken backwards and forwards, or they had been picked up and swung by one leg, meaning it took the whole weight of the body.

“The brain injury was caused by insufficient oxygen and blood to the brain. There was blood diffused all over the top of the brain and in the subdural space. Doctors say this was caused by a shaking injury.

“They also said significant force was used, as such injury usually resulted from a car accident, falling down stairs, or falling out of a first-floor window”.

After spending yesterday going over the evidence with the jury, Judge MacDuff warned them they must be 100 per cent sure that the defendant was responsible for the injuries and not anyone else the child had come into contact with.

He concluded: “You may feel Christopher Newton had the opportunity to cause these injuries, but having the opportunity and doing are separate things”.

The jury will retire on Monday morning to consider their verdict.


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