Court told baby suffered ‘non-accidental injury’ more than once

Evidence concludes in trial of Cavan childminder accused of harming 10-month-old

A retired consultant paediatrician has told the trial of a childminder accused of assaulting a baby it is his belief the child was the subject of a non-accidental injury that occurred on more than one occasion.

Professional childminder Sandra Higgins (36) is alleged to have caused the injuries to the 10-month-old baby she was minding at her own home by shaking the child.

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

On the fourth day of the trial, retired consultant paediatrician Dr Christopher Woods said he was presented with the child’s files and medical reports and asked to review the case.



“When I reviewed the material I could see there was a pattern here, a collection of findings, and I’ve seen such a pattern before in cases of non-accidental injury,” he told Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting.

During cross-examination by Remy Farrell SC, defending, Dr Woods agreed there were advantages and disadvantages to the fact that he did not examine the child personally.

“The main advantage is that I can look at things more objectively. The disadvantage is that you are reliant on the information you are provided with,” he said.

CT scan

The trial also heard evidence from Dr Peter Flynn, a consultant paediatric neurologist at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, who was called as a witness for the defence. He told Mr Farrell a CT scan carried out on March 28th on the child showed acute bleeding on the brain. Dr Flynn also referenced the fact that an MRI showed there was no damage to the spinal cord. “Usually in cases of shaking, damage will be done to this area,” he said.

Evidence has now concluded in the trial and closing speeches before Judge Martin Nolan will begin on Tuesday.