Anya Lewis KC secures acquittal for defendant in alleged baby shaking case

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Anya Lewis KC of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team led Dale Harris of Bank House Chambers, instructed by Nicole Redfern of GWB Harthills Solicitors.

The case received press coverage in BBC News.

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The defendant had pleaded guilty to causing his daughter grievous bodily harm in 2006 and served a custodial sentence. Following his daughter's early death in 2020, the defendant was charged with her manslaughter. The defendant denied the allegation, saying that he had pleaded guilty having been told that the medical evidence was overwhelming. Because of his guilty plea, he faced the burden of proving he had not shaken his daughter in the current trial. 

The baby had suffered damaging brain injuries in 2005, but had no external injuries or other external risk factors. Complex medical evidence was called from experts in the fields of paediatrics, forensic pathology, neuropathology, ophthalmology and neurology. 

Over the course of the three-week trial, Anya was able to challenge the view of the numerous medical experts called on behalf of the prosecution that the findings in the brain in 2005, together with findings on post mortem, were diagnostic of the defendant having inflicted the injuries. Anya was able to highlight the ongoing controversies in the field of Non-Accidental Head Injuries and discharge the burden which was on the defendant in the unusual circumstances of this case.

The defendant was acquitted of manslaughter.

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