Wednesday 23 October 2019

Jury to begin their deliberations in GP manslaughter trial

Dr Bernadette Scully outside court. Photo: Collins
Dr Bernadette Scully outside court. Photo: Collins
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

The judge in the trial of a GP accused of the manslaughter of her profoundly disabled daughter has instructed the jury that he will be requiring them to reach a unanimous verdict.

Bernadette Scully, from Emvale, Bachelor's Walk, Tullamore, Co Offaly, has denied the manslaughter of her daughter, Emily Barut (11), by an act of gross negligence on September 15, 2012, involving the administration of a toxic dosage of chloral hydrate, a sedative.

Emily was born with severe disabilities, with microcephaly, severe epilepsy and she was unable to speak, sit or stand unaided.

Experts told the trial that she had the mental capacity of a six-month-old.

She had been in pain for the last eight days of her life, following a medical procedure to replace a feeding peg in her stomach.

The trial heard that the level of chloral hydrate found in her system was 10 times the therapeutic amount.

The jury will begin their deliberations this morning.

Read more: 'You're not being asked to determine if accused was a good mother' jury told in GP trial

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy completed his charge to them with an extensive summary of the evidence given by witnesses over the two-week trial.

He told the jury they can "accept some parts of witnesses' statements and not other parts".

The jury will not have access to any written statements, bar those given by Dr Scully, with the judge explaining that they "don't decide a case on paper".

However, they may ask him to read out any part of a transcript or evidence that they wish, he added.

He also told the jury that the court is at their disposal, saying: "You can take as long or as short a time as you like."

Previously, he told the jury to leave aside emotion, adding that this was particularly important given the nature of this case.

He said they had to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused's conduct was a substantial cause of death and to be convicted of manslaughter the accused must have failed to observe the ordinary and necessary care expected of her to the point that she was negligent to a very high degree.

Irish Independent

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