Huffpost Crime

This Nanny Hit A Child And Walked Free

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Daily Mail
Daily Mail

Shocking hidden camera video obtained by the Daily Mail shows the moment a nanny slams a British couple's 18-month-old boy into his crib.

It's only part of the abuse that the child's parents caught on a hidden camera, which they set up after the child's grandmother became suspicious of the nanny, who the paper calls "Agatha."

Agatha was charged with cruelty to a child for the January 2013 incident, but a jury found her not guilty on a legal technicality.

The Daily Mail reports:

Although Agatha had admitted she had thrown and struck [the boy], under the law she was not guilty because she had not been charged with assault -- and could not be charged with this offense using the same evidence.

The difference between "cruelty" and "assault on a child" as defined under British law -- and the confusion these terms have created -- is the subject of a 2008 document by Britain's Sentencing Guidelines Council. "Assault" refers to an incident of abuse. "Cruelty" is taken to mean a pattern of abuse:

[Cruelty] is more likely to apply to offenses where there is evidence that a child was assaulted by someone with caring responsibility during a certain period but where there is no clear evidence of any particular incidents, the extent of those incidents or the specific time of the incidents...

Where a serious assault has been committed, the CPS Charging Standard advises that a charge of child cruelty will not be appropriate and that the most appropriate offense against the person should be charged in such circumstances.

Fortunately, the child, now 3, appears to have sustained no lasting trauma. But his parents, Rowena and Jack Churchland, remain horrified at the verdict and at the way that child protective services handled the case. Inquisitr reports that they're appealing for a review of the case.

"I felt so helpless. I wanted to be [my child's] voice -- I feel like I let him down," Rowena Churchland told the Daily Mail.

A hidden video can provide damning evidence in a child abuse trial. Earlier this week, a caretaker for a Staten Island, N.Y., family pleaded guilty to to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after she was filmed violently shaking and slapping an 11-month-old baby in January.

Prosecutors say that woman could face up to 10 months in prison.

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