NEWS

Toronto Man Found Guilty Of Assaulting His Child

07/27/2012 10:29 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT
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A Toronto father has been found guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily harm, for shaking his daughter so violently it caused permanent damage.

Malcolm Ricketts, who has been in custody at the Don Jail for more than two years, was found guilty on five separate charges involving the assault of his daughter, Heaven, and his spouse, Christina Hammond.

Judge Bonnie Croll said Friday that Ricketts shook the then-four-month-old Heaven "in a misguided effort to quiet her" in March 2010.

Ricketts sobbed when the verdict was read. As he was being escorted out of the courtroom, he said "I didn't do nothing, I didn't do nothing."

CBC's Lucy Lopez said that the moment the judge left the courtroom family members began screaming at each other, with at least eight police officers jumping in to stop an all-out brawl.

The court heard during the trial that Heaven, now two and a half years old, is virtually blind and unable to walk and talk. She's been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

When Heaven was taken to Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in March 2010, doctors discovered her brain was bleeding badly in three places, consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Multiple rib fractures

Heaven was also diagnosed with multiple rib fractures, though the hospital could not find any evidence of neck injuries, which often accompanies shaken baby syndrome.

Heaven's mother, Christina Hammond, told police Ricketts once threw her against the wall while she held her baby. She later retracted her statements, saying she was under duress and felt pressured by police.

Ricketts and Hammond stayed together throughout his time in jail, often talking by phone.

She was sobbing when the verdict was read.

Ricketts's mother, Monique Ricketts, burst out in the courtroom yelling that her son is innocent.

"My son would not do that," she told media members outside the courtroom.

In 2010, the province struck a panel of experts who are reviewing four shaken baby syndrome convictions.

Malcolm Ricketts's lawyer, Philip Hiebert, says this case needs to reviewed as well. He said he'll most likely appeal the decision.

"Our expert...said that you can't tell from imaging alone if it's abuse," he said outside the courtroom. "You can't tell from the medical evidence that there was some intentional injury inflicted."

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27.