Judges are baffled by baby’s painless skull fractures

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 28 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8703
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The Court of Appeal has quashed a judge’s findings that parents deliberately harmed their baby daughter, in a case described by the expert witnesses who gave evidence as “unique” and “unprecedented.”

The three appeal court judges faced a “conundrum” over the baby, who they said had experienced “spectacular” skull fractures, but had not had the “very serious brain injuries which would be expected to accompany fractures of such severity.”

They overturned the findings of Judge Katharine Marshall in care proceedings at Swindon county court that the baby’s injuries were not accidental but must have been caused by either her mother or her father. Judge Marshall had cited discrepancies in the parents’ evidence and concluded, “I am not persuaded that this …

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