Saturday 29 April 2017

Jury to begin deliberations tomorrow in trial of child-minder accused of assaulting baby

Sandra Higgins pleads not guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby, pictured outside Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday (Courtpix)
Sandra Higgins pleads not guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby, pictured outside Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday (Courtpix)

Declan Brennan

The jury will begin deliberating tomorrow in the trial of a child-minder charged with assaulting a ten-month-old baby.

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

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

The trial has heard evidence that the child was fine that morning and during the day. Around 5pm Ms Higgins brought her to Cavan General Hospital where she presented with a brain bleed, detached retina and fractured ribs. She had seizures for over five days.

The prosecution alleges the baby's symptoms were consistent with a violent shaking.

Doctors who treated the baby girl said it was highly likely that the injuries to the child happened while she was in the care of Ms Higgins and that the injuries were non-accidental.

Expert witnesses for the defence said the evidence was more suggestive of a head trauma and could have been the re-activation of an old injury.

On day six of the trial Judge Patricia Ryan told the jury that their verdict should not be based on sympathy for the child or her parents or for the accused. She said they must use their common sense when looking at the evidence in the case.

Judge Ryan will finish charging the jury tomorrow before sending them out to begin deliberations.

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