November 2011

Magistrate who met the Queen guilty of killing two-year-old scalded under a power shower

Shocking: Rashpal Chana, left, and Eva Logina, right, were convicted of the manslaughter of Logina’s child after leaving her with horrific burns

A magistrate given an award by the Queen was jailed yesterday over the death of a toddler who was scalded in a shower.

Rashpal Chana was invited to Buckingham Palace in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to British science and met the Duke of Edinburgh and the physicist Stephen Hawking.

But the academic’s reputation lay in ruins last night after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Kristiana Logina, the two-year-old daughter of a girlfriend.

Chana, 49, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years while the child’s mother, Eva, received six years for manslaughter for the same crime.

A jury was told Kristiana suffered 10 per cent burns from water that may have been as hot as 58c. The burns were left untreated for so long her damaged skin died and began to decay.

Kristiana died shortly after she was admitted to hospital, ten to 14 days after the scalding occurred. Chana, who was appointed to the Birmingham bench in 1993, had moved Logina, 25, into his home in the city’s Harborne suburb, the jury was told.

Following the scalding, the pair failed to help Kristiana beyond applying creams and bandages and ‘left her to her fate’.

If they had sought immediate medical help or treatment, her life would have been saved. She died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in February last year of septic shock. The jury was told this is when ‘your body becomes so infected and debilitated that your organs and systems stop working’.

Sentencing at Nottingham Crown Court, Mrs Justice Dobbs told the pair they were guilty of gross negligence by omission. Turning to Chana, she said she had taken into account everything the Queen’s Award winner had lost as a result of his gross aberration.

The judge added that, although Chana was not thought to be in the bathroom when the injury was caused, he had a duty of care to Kristiana because he had taken her into his home.

In their police interviews, both Logina and Chana said they did not realise Kristiana was badly burned.

Michael Duck QC, defending Logina, said contact between her and social services had left her fearful the child would be taken away if she sought medical help.

Roger Thomas, defending Chana, said the guilty verdict meant he had ‘quite literally lost it all’. He added: ‘He is, and I use the word deliberately, finished as far as his career is concerned.’

At the start of the month-long trial, prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC said: ‘The nature and extent of the injuries she sustained were such that it would have been, or should have been, instantly apparent that she required urgent medical treatment.

‘It’s one of the awful tragedies of this case that her death was completely avoidable and, had she received medical treatment at or around the time of those injuries, she would have survived.’

He described the pair as grotesquely negligent for failing to summon help for Kristiana, and told the jury it was likely that the direct cause of the toddler’s injuries was the ‘application by a shower head unit of extremely hot water’.

Logina and Chana, who are registered at separate addresses in Smethwick, West Midlands, both denied manslaughter but were convicted yesterday. Logina was also found guilty of an additional count of child cruelty.

Chana has worked as a research technician in the zoology department at the University of Birmingham, held a senior management position at Sutton Coldfield College and has worked as an assistant examiner for the exam board, British Edexcel.

Logina moved to the UK in 2007 from Latvia when she was pregnant with her daughter.

Mr Raggatt said she appeared depressed following the birth, and had tried to put her child up for adoption. The attempt failed and Mr Raggatt said from then on Kristiana had been ill treated.

The Office for Judicial Complaints said it would now consider removing Chana from the magistracy.