A man accused of shaking an 11-week-old baby and causing severe brain damage has been cleared after a series of hospital blunders was revealed.And most people would say ‘Where there’s smoke….’.
Stuart Bailey, 41, insisted he had done nothing to harm the infant and his lawyers claimed the case against him was 'very seriously flawed' and based on mistakes by doctors.
But in this case, there wasn’t even heat:
His three-and-a-half-year ordeal ended when a judge halted the trial at Sheffield Crown Court and ordered the jury to find him not guilty of cruelty to a child.Three and a half years, and it couldn’t pass the judge’s ‘smell test’? What about the evidence?
Bailey's barrister told the court the injuries, which have left the baby blind, deaf and severely disabled, could have been caused by an infection.In which case, why go ahead? Well, they had the testimony of ‘experts’ to fall back on.
But he said doctors ignored NHS protocol by failing to carry out a lumbar puncture test that would have identified if the baby had an infection.
And a blood sample taken from the baby and sent for analysis was lost and the results never revealed.
And that’s when their troubles really started….
Dr Christopher Rittey, a consultant paediatric neurologist, concluded from head scans that she had suffered a skull fracture, and soft tissue 'impact' swelling indicated she could have been 'thrown against a brick wall or beaten with a baseball bat', the court heard.Whoops!
But Mr Smith said the baby did not have a fracture and the swelling Dr Rittey regarded as suspicious was 'old' damage suffered during labour.
Prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC, told the jury the existence of the 'triad' of bleeding above the brain, damage to the brain because of oxygen starvation and bleeding at the back of the eyes amounted to a 'very strong pointer' that the baby was violently shaken.Whoops again!
He rejected the possibility of infection.
But his case collapsed ten days into the trial when one of his own witnesses, Dr Carlos de Souza, from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, said under crossexamination that the notes showed retinal bleeding was only discovered on the fourth examination of the child - more than a day after the alleged incident.
In that case he would not be able to say the most likely explanation was shaking, he said.
His solicitor Tim Gaubert said: 'He's relieved although he was always confident he would be cleared. But his relief is tempered by the fact that the child is seriously ill. There are no winners and losers in this case.'Well, yes, and no.
He said Mr Bailey's prosecution highlighted 'the grave dangers and difficulties in cases of alleged baby shaking.'
What it illustrates even more is the criminal incompetence of the CPS in deciding to push ahead when they had lost the evidence and their ‘expert witnesses’ were so easily proved wrong on the stand…