CSI DDS | Forensic Science Testimony. CSI bad science issues and their contribution to wrongful convictions.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Aisling Brady McCarthy: Massachusetts; Aftermath 3; Irish Examiner reporter John Breslin describes how the prosecution case "based on doctor's testimony" was "riddled with holes."... "The Massachusetts State Police report, based on Dr Newton’s diagnosis, concluded: “Abusive head trauma includes injuries caused by violent shaking either by directly striking the head or causing the head to strike another object or surface.” There was “no other medical explanation for Rehma’s injuries or death”, Dr Newton reported." (Must Read. HL);
Countdown to Wrongful Conviction Day: Friday, October 2, 2015; 30 days. For information: http://www.aidwyc.org/wcd-2015/
COMMENTARY: "Aisling Brady McCarthy case: Prosecution case based on doctor’s testimony was riddled with holes," by reporter John Breslin, published on September 2, 2015, by the Irish Examiner.
SUB-HEADING :"Medical evidence indicated that baby Rehma Sabir was malnourished and some of her injuries happened when she was with her parents in the Middle East, yet one doctor’s report saw the case against Aisling Brady McCarthy drag on, writes John Breslin."
GIST: "An expert on child deaths and injuries at the hospital was, and is, Dr Alice Newton. She was called in to give her opinion both before and after baby Rehma died. Dr Newton had no doubts as to what happened. Rehma was the victim of a violent assault, she had a severe head injury. The Massachusetts State Police report, based on Dr Newton’s diagnosis, concluded: “Abusive head trauma includes injuries caused by violent shaking either by directly striking the head or causing the head to strike another object or surface.” There was “no other medical explanation for Rehma’s injuries or death”, Dr Newton reported. That same report included details of blood stains discovered by police officers, on a baby wipe, a blanket, and a pillow. There were other injuries, notably to the child’s back. A neighbour reported hearing “extreme” crying. There was damage to a wall, likely caused by the baby-changing table being knocked against it.
Someone, it was concluded in meetings directly after the baby was brought to hospital, was responsible for the girl’s fatal injuries.........The narrative was clear — a crazy illegal Irish nanny had beaten a child to death.........What happened was that McCarthy Brady had a friend who knew somebody in the law offices of Todd and Weld, a firm dealing mostly with corporate clients but with a sideline in criminal defence. Melinda Thompson got the file and immediately, after one quick run-through, saw holes big enough to drive a bus through. Those injuries to Rehma’s back — they happened weeks before the day she was fatally injured. Brady McCarthy was nowhere near the child when they occurred. In fact, at the time Rehma was travelling through the Middle East with her parents who are from Pakistan. The damage to the wall? Easily caused by normal wear and tear. The blood stains found could not be linked to the day Rehma was fatally injured. Rehma’s head, or any other part of her body, was not knocked against anything. That neighbour has admitted never having to care for a child for any length of time and the crying that she heard occurred hours before the alarm was raised and emergency services called. Then came the doctor reports, including one from late the previous year that concluded Rehma was a malnourished child. But, prosecutors continued to argue, she was violently shaken, causing blunt force trauma to her brain. Thompson and her team of lawyers levelled a double barrel against the prosecution — that there is no such thing as shaken baby syndrome and, even if there was, Dr Newton’s diagnosis was rushed and wrong. They also cited other cases where similar prosecutions, where Dr Newton was the key witness, were dropped. Geoffrey Wilson, in 2010, was accused of shaking to death his six-month-old baby. The prosecution case rested largely on Dr Newton’s conclusions, which she came to just hours after the baby was brought to hospital. The charges were dropped after it was found the son had a rare genetic defect that may have played a role in his death. The medical examiners changed the manner of death from homicide to “cannot be determined”. Brady McCarthy’s lawyers tried to have Dr Newton’s testimony excluded from the expected trial, arguing she failed to review Rehma’s medical history, including the fact she was malnourished. Dr Newton, at a hearing before Judge Maureen Hogan in Middlesex County Superior Court, said she and others conducted a careful review and that the child died from “a major traumatic injury”. That hearing was last September and even then it was becoming pretty clear there were major problems with the prosecution case."
The entire story can be found at:
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