Friday 15 December 2017

Childminder Trial: Handwriting expert cannot say when entries in diary were altered

Trial of a childminder accused of assaulting a baby

Accused: Sandra Higgins
Accused: Sandra Higgins

Declan Brennan

A garda handwriting expert has told the trial of a child-minder accused of assaulting a baby that he could not say when entries in a child-minding diary were altered.

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.

Detective Garda John Leonard told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, that he examined a blue notebook which was used as a diary and handover book between Ms Higgins and the child's mother.

The document and handwriting specialist said the purpose of his examination was to see if there were any alterations or amendments to particular entries.

He said that the time of 12.50pm written into an entry on the date of the alleged assault was an alteration. The time indicated the end of the baby's morning sleep.

Det Leonard told Remy Farrell SC, defending, that it was not possible to say when the original note was amended.

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury of eight men and four women. There is a court order prohibiting publication of the child's name.

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