Father found guilty in shaken baby trial

25/09/2008

Gary Johnson, 21, from Banbury, was yesterday found guilty at Oxford Crown Court of shaking his baby daughter, resulting in serious injuries and permanent brain damage. The injuries were inflicted during the morning of 13 August, 2007.

Johnson was convicted on two counts: Causing grievous bodily harm with intent; and inflicting cruelty to a person under 16, contrary to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

He was found not guilty of a third count of cruelty relating to a previous injury, as alleged by the Prosecution, because the medical experts were unable to provide definitive evidence to the jury. The judge in the trial, Mr Recorder Persaud, therefore directed an acquittal. Johnson was sentenced yesterday and will serve a total of six years in prison. He was also banned from working with children for life.

Deborah Garrett, Special Casework Lawyer at Oxford CPS, said afterwards: This is a case where a healthy, lively 8 week-old baby girl has suffered at the hands of her father with such injuries that she will be unlikely to walk, talk and see in the future, with no prospect of an independent life.

The defendant had attempted to portray himself as a concerned parent but having inflicted the injuries on his baby daughter, he failed to seek any medical attention, failed to inform the mother of the child that she was suffering and was more concerned on leaving the family home to drink with his friends. Not once during his lengthy interviews did he show any concern for Nicole.

The guilty verdicts are the result of a vigorous and thorough investigation by the officer in this case, DS Dave Smith, with the assistance of Oxfordshire Social Services and the support of the medical teams from the various hospitals caring for Nicole, all of which culminated in a successful prosecution.

Our thoughts this day must be for this baby girl and we trust that she will be able to live a secure and happy life within a caring environment, as directed by Social Services and the Courts.

For further information contact Jacqui Broadbridge, Group Communications Manager, CPS Thames Valley, on 0118 951 3640

Notes to Editors

  1. The Crown Prosecution Service is the authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  2. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk 
  3. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.  This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.  The Protocol is published on our website at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/agencies/mediaprotocol.html