NewsCourts

Jury in child-minder trial set to begin deliberations

CourtsBy Sunday World
Sandra Higgins
Sandra Higgins

The jury is due to begin its deliberations later today in the trial of a child-minder charged with assaulting a baby.

Registered child-minder Sandra Higgins (34) is alleged to have caused the injuries to the 10-month-old baby she was minding at her home.

Ms Higgins (34) of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, County Cavan has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby on March 28, 2012.

This morning lawyers for the prosecution and defence will give their closing speeches to the jury of eight men and four women. Judge Patricia Ryan will then charge the jury before sending them out to begin their deliberations.

During the five days of evidence the jury heard evidence from a medical expert who said that retinal haemorrhaging suffered by the infant was consistent with violent shaking injury.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Alan Finan told said that her brain injuries could not reasonably have occurred prior to 9am on that day, prior to her being dropped off by her mother to her child-minder.

A UK neuropathologist also testified that that shaken baby syndrome has no scientific validation.

Dr Waney Squier said: “I came to the view that I could not be sure this is a real syndrome.”

She added: “We all have to be careful. We have to keep our minds open. I’ve changed my mind already.”

There is a court order prohibiting publication of the child's name.