An Irish nanny accused of killing a baby girl in her care has asked a US judge to grant her bail while awaiting trial.
Lawyers for Aisling Brady McCarthy told the court in Woburn, Massachusetts, that prosecutors failed to turn over critical evidence they needed to defend her against murder charges over the death of Rehma Sabir.
The baby was taken to hospital with severe head injuries on her first birthday in January and died two days later.
Ms McCarthy’s lawyers argued that the case against her was weaker than prosecutors claimed after she was arrested. They cited notes of police interviews in which they say the baby’s mother appears to have said “no issues with nanny” when questioned on the night she was rushed to the hospital.
Prosecutors say McCarthy (35), originally from Co Cavan, "violently" injured the baby, whose family lived in Cambridge, just outside Boston. Ms McCarthy lived in nearby Quincy.
Judge Jane Haggerty said she expected to rule on the bail request today and by the end of the week on a defence request to dismiss the charges against Ms McCarthy.
Ms McCarthy’s lawyers said prosecutors presented “false and deceptive” information to a grand jury, including evidence about earlier bone fractures the girl had with no accompanying evidence linking the injuries to Ms McCarthy.
The defence told the judge yesterday that prosecutors had still not turned over medical reports about the earlier fractures and other evidence vital to their defence of Ms McCarthy.
"An innocent person sits in jail while we are begging for discovery," lawyer Melinda Thompson said.
Assistant district attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said prosecutors turned over more than 500 pages of notes from doctors at Children's Hospital, where the baby was treated, and grand jury evidence, including that of a doctor on the earlier bone fractures. He said prosecutors were waiting for medical reports on the fractures from outside experts.
Mr Fitzgerald did not comment directly on the defence claim that the prosecution’s case against Ms McCarthy was weaker than that presented to the grand jury that indicted her, but he said he did not think Ms McCarthy should be granted bail.
“I see nothing that has changed relevant to the issue of bail,” he said.
After Ms McCarthy's arrest, immigration officials said she was in the United States illegally after arriving from Ireland in 2002, when she was authorised to stay only 90 days.