A MAN who admitted assaulting a baby has been spared jail by a judge at Oxford Crown Court.

Ben O’Donovan, of Park Road, Banbury, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and assault by beating.

Nigel Ogborne, prosecuting, said the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found by a doctor to have 23 separate injuries.

Mr Ogborne told Judge Patrick Eccles that most were bruises which O’Donovan claimed had been caused when he was trying to calm the distressed child down.

Mr Ogborne said the injuries were consistent with the baby being gripped with “extraordinary and unnecessary” force.

The barrister added that there was also an injury to the child’s lip, which could have been caused by holding him against a hard surface, such as a button.

Terence Woods, defending, said O’Donovan had a range of psychological and emotional problems and had the “intellectual faculties” of a child of between six and eight years old.

Judge Eccles said in light of his severe learning difficulties and the absence of medical evidence disputing his account he would not send O’Donovan to prison.

He gave him an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, with a supervision requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.