UK – One of the three people jailed for the death of Baby Peter Connolly has lost a bid to take his appeal against a rape conviction to the Supreme Court.
Steven Barker, 33, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 10 years for raping Baby Peter Connolly’s sister, who was two at the time of the offence.
The trial set several precedents and was the reason that sentencing in the Baby Peter Connolly murder trial was delayed. Steven Barker and Baby Peter’s mother, Tracey Connolly’s identities were kept from the public for so long to prevent the knowledge of who they were from prejudicing the original rape trial..
- Connolly and Barker were tried under false names to prevent the jury from finding out that they had been convicted of failing to protect Baby Peter Connolly.
- Baby Peter’s sister is one of the youngest children to give evidence in such a trial.
At the appeal in November 2009. Barker claimed that he did not have a fair trial. His QC, Bernard Richmond, had argued at a hearing that an Old Bailey judge should have halted the case against him.
An argument put forward to the appeal judges by Mr Richmond was that the evidence of the girl should have been excluded because the girl was too young to be a “competent” witness.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge was having none of it. He said the child “was indeed a compelling as well as a competent witness”.
He added: “On all the evidence this jury was entitled to conclude that the allegation was proved.
“Unless we simply resuscitate the tired and outdated misconceptions about the evidence of children, there is no justifiable basis for interfering with the verdict.”
He added: “All the reports upon the appellant indicate that he is a danger to young children. He committed appalling crimes.”
Today when giving his reasons for refusing Barker leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said the case did not raise any “point of law of general public importance”.
He added: “That, therefore, is the end of the matter.”
Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge was sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Mrs Justice Macur.