Start Define intimidating witness

Define intimidating witness

The triad was considered to be a hallmark of NAHI as the mechanism of the injuries was said to be shaking of the infant, with or without impact on a solid surface.

Harris: In relation to the appeal in the case of Harris, the evidence relating to an alternative cause of death based on a possible infection did not form any basis for holding that the conviction was unsafe.

Furthermore there was evidence of up to 22 bruises on the victim’s body.

In the circumstances the appellant’s conviction for manslaughter was safe and the appeal would be dismissed.

All four cases involved allegations of ‘shaken baby syndrome’ (SBS) now more properly referred to as non accidental head injury (NAHI) and all of the appellants had been convicted following trials.

The common thread running through each of the four appeals was a submission that since the convictions, medical research had developed to the extent that there was ‘fresh evidence’ which threw doubt on the safety of each conviction.

In the third paper (Geddes III) the team put forward a new hypothesis, the ‘unified hypothesis’ which challenged the supposed infallibility of the triad.

It was called the unified hypothesis because it relied on the proposal that there was one unified cause of the three intracranial injuries constituting the triad and that cause was not necessarily trauma but hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the tissues), both alone and in combination with infection.

However, this conclusion was not determinative of the four appeals before the Court as many other medical issues were involved in cases of alleged NAHI and there remained a body of medical opinion which did not accept that the triad was an infallible tool for diagnosis.