Thursday 21 June 2018

Jury discharged in retrial of childminder accused of causing serious harm to a baby

Sandra Higgins (36) of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan, at court today.
Pic: Courtpix
Sandra Higgins (36) of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan, at court today. Pic: Courtpix

Declan Brennan

A judge has discharged the jury in the second retrial of a Cavan childminder accused of causing serious harm to a baby because of a legal issue.

Sandra Higgins (36), of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, Co Cavan denies a charge of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby at her home on March 28 2012 .

On Monday morning, Judge Cormac Quinn empaneled a jury to hear the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. It was scheduled to last two weeks.

On Monday afternoon a legal issue arose before the trial opened in evidence. Judge Quinn sent the jury home to deal with the issue. On Tuesday morning he told the jury that unfortunately the legal issue now means that the trial is not ready to proceed.

He discharged the jury and remanded Ms Higgins on continuing bail. He set a new trial for June 11 next.

Earlier Judge Quinn said that it is alleged that the defendant assaulted the ten-month-old baby. He said that it will be alleged that on March 28, 2012 the baby presented at hospital with non-accidental injuries.

He told the jurors that the case had gone to trial on two other occasions. He said these trials were accompanied by publicity and that in order to serve as a jury for this trial, it was crucial that jurors felt they would not be affected by anything they had seen or heard in the media.

The court heard that the trial is expected to hear evidence from a number of civilian and garda witnesses from Co Cavan. The defence may also call an paediatrician from Wales to give evidence.

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