One of the three people jailed in Britain over the death of Baby Peter lost an appeal today against his conviction for the rape of a two-year-old girl.
Steven Barker, 33, claimed he did not have a fair trial and his conviction was “unsafe”.
But his challenge was rejected by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Lady Justice Hallett and Mrs Justice Macur at the Court of Appeal in London.
Barker was handed a 12-year sentence for causing or allowing the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, but he was also jailed for life with a minimum term of 10 years after being convicted of rape at a separate trial.
The judges also dismissed his appeal against sentence.
Lord Judge said: “All the reports upon the appellant indicate that he is a danger to young children.”
He committed “appalling” crimes.
At a hearing in November Barker's QC, Bernard Richmond, argued that an Old Bailey judge should have halted the case against him.
Peter’s mother, Tracey Connelly, 28, of Penshurst Road, Tottenham, north London, and lodger Jason Owen, 37, of Bromley, south east London, were also put behind bars over the child’s death.
One of the arguments put forward to the appeal judges by Mr Richmond was that the evidence of the girl should have been excluded.
The trial judge, he submitted, should have ruled that the child was not a “competent” witness.
Peter Connelly was found dead in a blood-spattered cot in August 2007.
He had more than 50 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken back, despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over eight months.
Barker was told by the sentencing judge he played a major role in Peter’s death.
Barker and Owen, who are brothers, were convicted by a jury of causing or allowing the death of a child at a trial last November, while the mother earlier pleaded guilty to the charge.
Miss Sally O’Neill QC, for the Crown, in opposing the appeal bid, had argued that the trial judge had been “well-placed” and “entitled” to make the assessment he did about the competence of the child witness, who was aged four when she gave evidence.
He had reached “proper and sound” conclusions on that issue and on whether “there was a case properly to go to the jury”.
Lord Judge said of the child today: “She was indeed a compelling as well as a competent witness.
“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“Unless we simply resuscitate the tired and outdated misconceptions about the evidence of children, there is no justifiable basis for interfering with the verdict.
“Accordingly, the appeal against conviction is dismissed.”