We recently represented a paramedic who had been accused of the manslaughter of her foster daughter, who died as a result of being accidentally dropped. Despite what we consider to be some biased, inaccurate reporting leading up to a very difficult trial, we helped our client with expert evidence to support her defence. As a result, she received a unanimous not-guilty verdict.
About the case
In August 2017, whilst getting her foster daughter ready for bed, our client lost control of her and accidentally dropped her onto her lower body. Her foster daughter sadly died two days later at Leeds General Infirmary.
At the time of the incident, our client – who was in the process of adopting her foster daughter – called 999 and explained that she had dropped her baby on to the floor whilst feeding her. Our client was then arrested in March 2018 and charged with manslaughter. In the trial she was accused of losing her temper and subjecting the baby to violent action. The prosecution claimed that the baby’s head was “subjected to repeated forces and acceleration and deceleration”, hinting that there were signs of shaken baby syndrome.
How we represented the client
Thanks to many years’ experience of helping vulnerable clients to defend such accusations, we were able to calmly establish the facts of this very emotive case. We believed that the claims being made warranted expert opinion and as well as instructing a QC, we enlisted the help of a consultant pathologist and neurological experts to give the necessary expertise.
This allowed us to successfully address the prosecution claims that the death was not accidental and that the baby had suffered inflicted injuries. The evidence proved that it was almost certain that neither claim was correct.
Our client issued the following statement about the verdict and how the loss had affected her:
On the 26th August 2017 I lost my beautiful little girl, in what was and, has now been recognised to have been, a truly tragic accident. I am grateful to my friends and family who have believed in me and have supported me throughout this awful time. The people who know me, knew all along that I was never capable of that which was being alleged.
I would like to thank my legal team Jamie Hill QC, Rebecca Young and Angela Ambler and the independent medical experts who supported my case. These were world renowned experts and without their expertise I could have been the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice. I would also like to thank the jury, who, in these uncertain times have continued to attend court and have delivered justice for myself and for [my daughter]
I know that some people will reject the verdict of the jury based on that reported in Social Media but hopefully the verdict will serve to give people cause to think on their actions and their words before assuming the worst of others and giving voice to their hatred. I have nothing further to add, save I should be grateful for the respect of my privacy, as I start the grieving process which has been denied to me.
This case demonstrates the way that Social Media – and even mainstream media – can give a very biased impression of cases which are far from simple. It also demonstrates our ability to represent the most vulnerable clients and to tackle complex medical and legal issues.