I Only Followed Medical Expert Evidence, Says DA Who Took Aisling to Court

Daily Mail (London), September 5, 2015 | Go to article overview

I Only Followed Medical Expert Evidence, Says DA Who Took Aisling to Court


Byline: Catherine Fegan Chief Correspondent

THE District Attorney who led the prosecution against Aisling Brady McCarthy has denied to the Irish Daily Mail that she is to blame for the nanny's ordeal.

Ms Brady McCarthy hit out during the week about her 'scandalous' treatment by police and prosecutors while she faced charges for an alleged murder that, it emerged, never happened.

First-degree murder charges were sensationally dropped when the medical examiner changed her evidence and said in was unlikely that the year-old baby Ms Brady McCarthy was caring for had died of shaken baby syndrome.

But Middlesex District attorney Marian Ryan defended her own actions in the case. She told the Mail it was her job to follow the evidence, and said her office had relied on the medical examiner's statements. However, a lawyer who specialises in defending clients in shaken baby syndrome cases, has hit out at the 'shameful' culture in the district attorney's office.

Elaine Sharp, the Massachusetts lawyer who represented British au pair Louise Woodward in her 1997 trial over the death of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen, said: 'They don't bother to put the time in and pay their dues to learn the medicine and to learn the science.' Ms Brady McCarthy, 37, who had been living illegally in the US, is now back in Ireland after the Massachusetts state medical examiner reversed her finding that baby Rehma Sabir's death was murder in January 2013. She spent almost two and a half years fighting for justice, and most of that time in harrowing prison conditions, being released on bail in May.

But responding to claims from Ms Brady McCarthy and her defence team that her life had been ruined by the over-zealous approach of prosecutors, Ms Ryan told the Mail: 'A medical examiner goes to the family and tells them their child suffered a number of injuries. The death is ruled as a homicide. The medical examiner is telling us we have a dead one-year-old on our hands. We have to investigate.' She added: 'Our job is to follow the evidence. When this baby was found dead, we were told it was a homicide. The medical examiner then reviewed the evidence.' When asked if she was effectively blaming the medical examiner, Ms Ryan said: 'We are always in the position of relying on our experts in the work we do.' She added that the medical evidence came back and said: 'I think I might have been wrong' and they acted accordingly.

She added: 'I don't think the medical examiner made a pass on innocent or guilty.

'We took the evidence as it was presented. I don't think there is a happy outcome for anyone.' However last night, medical examiner press officer Felix Browne told the Mail: 'Medical examiners work to determine the cause and manner of death in a case based on the best available information. When new and relevant information becomes available, medical examiners factor it into their analysis. In rare cases, that new information changes their determination. …

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