May 24 2013 Latest news:
Friday, April 20, 2012
A young couple have won a High Court battle to prove their innocence over the death of their baby son, who was suffering from rickets, and to have their toddler daughter returned to their care.
Last December the boy’s father, Rohan Wray, 22, and mother Chana Al-Alas, 19, of Islington, walked free from the Old Bailey after being cleared of killing four-month-old Jayden in 2009.
But they later faced allegations over the child’s death in the civil family courts from the local authority in whose care their daughter Jayda had been since her birth in October 2010, at a time her parents had been charged with the murder of her brother.
The case brought by Islington Council was that Jayden “died as a result of inflicted trauma caused to him whilst in the care of the parents”.
It was further alleged that he suffered “a number of fractures that, despite having rickets, were caused by non-accidental injury”.
However, in a judgment made public yesterday, Mrs Justice Theis, sitting at the High Court’s Family Division in London, ruled that the allegations made against them had not been proved.
Care proceedings in relation to Jayda have been dismissed and she has returned to live with her parents.
The judge described it as a complex case. She heard four weeks of evidence, and the vast majority of witnesses were clinicians or medical experts.
The local authority had relied on the “medical evidence of fact and opinion to undermine the credibility of the parents”.
She said the case had generated a considerable amount of publicity at the time of the criminal trial, adding: “I am aware that some of the medical issues considered in this case have generated debate, both within and outside the medical arena.”
The judge stressed: “It is important to remember that my conclusions are entirely related to this case. Despite their differences of opinion, all the medical experts agree this case is extremely complex.
“By their very nature, cases such as this are very fact-specific and great caution should be adopted in using any conclusions I reach to support any wider views outside the very specific facts of this case.”
At the Old Bailey, charges of murder and causing or allowing Jayden’s death were dropped following a six-week trial.
A jury returned not guilty verdicts on the direction of the judge.
The court heard that Jayden died from brain damage and swelling but nearly 60 medical, professional and expert witnesses were unable to agree on the cause.
The prosecution said the brain damage could only have been caused by the trauma of Jayden having been shaken or his head having been hit against something.
But the defence said it was only after the baby’s death that it was discovered he had rickets caused by a vitamin D deficiency. This would have caused him to have weak bones, including a weak skull, and could have caused a series of fractures.
In a statement issued yesterday by lawyers after the judgment in the High Court’s Family Division, the parents were described as being “delighted and relieved that they can finally be allowed to grieve for their son and be reunited with their daughter”.
It added: “The nightmare of Jayden’s death was compounded by the criminal investigation and then the loss of their daughter, without being able to bond with her following her birth.
“The subsequent child protection proceedings in relation to their daughter caused the couple to relive Jayden’s death in court once again.”