Manslaughter acquittal in shaken baby case

Friday 25 October 2019

Rajiv Menon QC and Jacob Bindman of Graden Court represented the defendant Ravinder Deol, instructed by Sara Alessandrini of O’Keeffe’s Solicitors.

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Following a trial lasting three and a half weeks at Reading Crown Court, Mrs Deol was acquitted of unlawfully killing her daughter by shaking.

Mrs Deol was charged with unlawful act manslaughter of her 5 month old daughter. 

Having been born very prematurely with a number of health complications, the deceased was discharged from hospital in February 2016. Following two months at home with her parents, much of the time on oxygen support, Mrs Deol’s daughter tragically died in April 2016.

A post-mortem revealed bleeding on the brain and in the eyes, leading to a finding of what is known as “the triad”, a key indicator of shaken baby syndrome or non-accidental head injury.

At trial the Prosecution called a range of highly complex expert evidence from a paediatric neuropathologist, paediatric neurosurgeon, as well as forensic pathologists and a neonatologist. The Prosecution relied on their experts to argue that the deceased was in fact healthy, despite her earlier health issues, and that the injuries to the brain were such that they could only have been caused by unlawful shaking by the defendant.

The Defence did not call any expert evidence but relied on cross examination of the Prosecution experts and evidence given by Mrs Deol in her defence to the effect that the deceased had been found in a collapsed state, and any shake was done purely to try and revive her.

After a three and a half week trial at Reading Crown Court in front of Mrs Justice Whipple, Mrs Deol was acquitted by the jury after 4 hours of deliberations. 

The case has been reported on by the BBC

Rajiv Menon QC and Jacob Bindman are members of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team

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