Oliver Deighton. Picture: Facebook
Oliver Deighton. Picture: Facebook

'It's been hell': Seven-year baby death trial over

AN Alice Springs man has been found guilty of manslaughter seven years after he caused death to a baby in his care however he has been acquitted of a rape charge.

A Supreme Court jury found Oliver Deighton, 27, guilty of the manslaughter of five-month-old Michael Smedley who was left in his care on the morning of July 26, 2012.

The mother of Michael, Tayla Smedley, burst into tears when Deighton was found guilty of causing the death of her baby.

Outside court, Ms Smedley said Michael was a happy baby who was loved by many people.

"I'm relieved that we finally got here after seven years and that Michael can finally start to rest in peace," she said.

"It's been hell, having to re-live the day over and over again."

The court heard that Michael died of traumatic head injuries and that he had multiple bruises on his body.

The jury also heard evidence that a forensic biologist allegedly observed sperm in a sample taken from the body of the baby.

In his closing address to the jury on Monday, Crown prosecutor Stephen Robson accused Deighton of lying to keep ahead of the police investigation.

Mr Robson said Deighton went back to police and gave a false account of an "accidental fall and catch" of the baby from a change table.

"He knew he had to get ahead of the police investigation and come up with a version that better suited his claim of innocence …" Mr Robson said.

In his closing address to the jury, defence barrister Scott Corish said there was no blood found in the nappy and that there was no DNA evidence to link Deighton to the sperm.

"There is no DNA link to Oliver Deighton or any other male for that matter …" Mr Corish said.

The court previously heard that when Ms Smedley was a teenager she left baby Michael in the care of her friend Tamara Cole who was in a relationship with Deighton at the time.

When Ms Cole came back home from work she found Deighton with the "limp" baby who later died in the Alice Spring Hospital.

"These fatal head injuries occurred while baby Michael was under accused's exclusive care," Mr Robson said.

Doctors, scientists, police, and relatives of both the accused and the victim gave evidence during the trial.

Ms Smedley gave evidence in the first week of the trial and said she arrived at the house and saw, "Tamara doing CPR on what basically looked like a rag doll."

Deighton was remanded in custody and he will be sentenced in September by Justice Peter Barr.


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