Baby killer fails appeal to overturn conviction

Ryan Leslie
Ryan Leslie
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A NEW Mossley man jailed for murdering his baby son has failed in a bid to have his conviction overturned.

The Court of Appeal has rejected claims that a jury reached an unsafe verdict in finding Ryan Leslie guilty of killing 14-week-old Cameron Jay Leslie.

Lawyers for 27-year-old Leslie had argued that unrelated media reports during the trial about a key defence expert had a devastating impact on their case.

Lord Justice Girvan accepted there had been irregularities in how the issue was handled but ruled that the defence medical evidence would never have been enough to undermine the prosecution case that Leslie had inflicted severe trauma on the child.

Baby Cameron died in hospital in September 2008 after suffering serious injuries.

His brain was so swollen that it cut off the oxygen supply to his brainstem.

Bruises were also found on the baby’s arms, legs, torso, throat and chin.

Fourteen rib fractures were discovered but assessed as not having contributed to the death.

Leslie, formerly of Ballyvesey Green, was sentenced to a minimum 17 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm following trial in February last year.

Leslie’s appeal centred on allegedly prejudicial radio, television and internet reports broadcast during the trial about unproven professional issues relating to consultant neuropathologist Dr Waney Squier, an expert witness for the defence.

Leslie’s legal team argued that no checks were made to establish whether jurors were aware of the media coverage which could have unfairly influenced their decision.

Lord Justice Girvan, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Morgan and Lord Justice Coghlin, pointed out that the jury had been directed to consider only the evidence before them.

He held that even if members of the panel had heard some to the broadcasts, it did not undermine Dr Squier.

Lord Justice Girvan said: “Her evidence, taken at its most favourable for the defence, could not effectively put in doubt the conclusion that the applicant inflicted on Cameron during the period which he had custody of the child, severe trauma leading to his death.”

The court also rejected further claims that the trial judge unfairly interrupted defence medical expert evidence, gave an inadequate direction on the standard of proof and mistakenly refused an application for no case to answer on the grievous bodily harm charge.

Lord Justice Girvan said: “In the result we consider that the applicant has failed to establish any ground of appeal and the application accordingly is dismissed.”