Monday, 21 June 2010

Shaken Baby Syndrome

The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) has given judgment in three appeals involving the death of a baby - see Henderson, Butler, Oyediran v R [2010] EWCA Crim 1269. These are very difficult and emotional cases in which a jury often has to weigh conflicting expert medical evidence.  Whilst the jury remains the fact-finding body, the jurors will receive direction from the judge.  According to the court, there are two necessary elements in the jury direction: [1] not to overlook a realistic possibility of there being an unknown cause and [2] how to handle conflicting medical evidence.  See paragraphs 217 and 218 of the judgment.

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