UK - Healthcare worker arrested on suspicion of murder/attempted murder of a number of babies, 2018

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annpats

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Lucy Letby: Nurse accused of baby murders cleared of one charge

Lucy Letby: Nurse accused of baby murders cleared of one charge

"The prosecution offered no evidence" it says.
Oh my. That seems very slapdash and odd to have no evidence she had murdered this one baby.

It makes me wonder what other evidence the prosecution has for her guilt on murder of the other babies and how credible (or not) it is.

I wonder if she may be found not guilty of any more of the murders, or perhaps even all of them...?
 
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JosieJo

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It's obviously impossible to know why the change in status of the charge prior to full trial.
My thoughts would be that initially the cps must have had evidence to charge.
I'd imagine a case like this where many cases would have been reviewed to physically search for foul play that may not have been initially obvious is more difficult.
I'd imagine one or two "more obvious" cases led to numerous reviews.
It may be that the defence found evidence to clearly dispute initial evidence presented by the CPS leaving no evidence for the prosecution to present at trial.
I feel for the parents having the additional distress.
 

Marantz4250b

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From above link

"Nick Johnson, QC, said the prosecution was offering no evidence on one of the counts of murder during a hearing at Manchester Crown Court."

Sounds as if new evidence has come to light on this one baby. Awful for the parents to have to be put through that

Can't believe I've missed this! I really should pay more attention.

I don't see that "new" evidence has come to light. The prosecution has said it isn't offering any evidence so, essentially, they are saying that whatever "evidence" they thought they had isn't evidence at all - or, at best, is so weak it doesn't meet the prosecution threshold.
 

JosieJo

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Can't believe I've missed this! I really should pay more attention.

I don't see that "new" evidence has come to light. The prosecution has said it isn't offering any evidence so, essentially, they are saying that whatever "evidence" they thought they had isn't evidence at all - or, at best, is so weak it doesn't meet the prosecution threshold.
Presumably for her to be charged with this particular babies murder it must have met the threshold at some point .. something must have come to light to change that for this particular death
 

Marantz4250b

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"The prosecution offered no evidence" it says.
Oh my. That seems very slapdash and odd to have no evidence she had murdered this one baby.

It makes me wonder what other evidence the prosecution has for her guilt on murder of the other babies and how credible (or not) it is.

I wonder if she may be found not guilty of any more of the murders, or perhaps even all of them...?
One has to accept the possibility that, yes, they may have got this whole thing wrong and it's all going to fall apart for the prosecution. As has been mentioned on here, and elsewhere, many, many times - these types of cases, which rely heavily on highly circumstantial and extremely specialist medical evidence seem to have more than their fair share of miscarriages of justice. There have been several mentioned on here.

Perhaps a large part of the "evidence" they put forward in some of the cases related to shift patterns and hers corresponding with deaths when she was on shift? As we have mentioned though, some statistician wrote a paper linked to here along the lines of the fact that due to the way in which nurses shifts work and the times of day that people in hospital die the majority of nurses will have patients die when they are on shift rather than when they aren't. People would assume that about the same number of patients will die when a nurse is off-shift then when they are are on but that isn't actually the case.

This is all speculation, of course, and maybe they just got something wrong in this one particular case. Doesn't look good for the prosecution though.
 
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Marantz4250b

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Presumably for her to be charged with this particular babies murder it must have met the threshold at some point .. something must have come to light to change that for this particular death
This is very true. It doesn't mean that "new" evidence has come to light to contradict the existing evidence put forward. It may be that the existing evidence has been shown to be incorrect, if you see what I mean.
 

Bakers

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It's obviously impossible to know why the change in status of the charge prior to full trial.
My thoughts would be that initially the cps must have had evidence to charge.
I'd imagine a case like this where many cases would have been reviewed to physically search for foul play that may not have been initially obvious is more difficult.
I'd imagine one or two "more obvious" cases led to numerous reviews.
It may be that the defence found evidence to clearly dispute initial evidence presented by the CPS leaving no evidence for the prosecution to present at trial.
I feel for the parents having the additional distress.
 

Bakers

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So is this baby still classed as murded ???
 
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Marantz4250b

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So is this baby still classed as murded ???
Thing is that as far as I'm aware there is no official pronouncement as to their deaths as there haven't been inquests as yet, I don't think. Those will be held after any trial, I'd imagine.
 

ZaZara

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Can't believe I've missed this! I really should pay more attention.

I don't see that "new" evidence has come to light. The prosecution has said it isn't offering any evidence so, essentially, they are saying that whatever "evidence" they thought they had isn't evidence at all - or, at best, is so weak it doesn't meet the prosecution threshold.

I was reminded of the Lucia de Berk case, where the prosecution and the court made use of the so called chain-link evidence:


Lucia de Berk - Wikipedia

Chain-link proof​

Of the seven murders and three attempted murders finally attributed to de Berk by the court, the court considered two of them to be proven by medical evidence. According to the court, de Berk had poisoned these two patients. The court then applied a so-called chaining-evidence argument. This means that if the several attempted or actual murders have already been established beyond reasonable doubt, then much weaker evidence than normal is sufficient to establish that a subsequent eight "suspicious incidents" are murders or attempted murders carried out by the same defendant.

BBM

Since we don't know the details of the charges, it is hard to say how 'evidence that isn't evidence at all' would play out in this case, but if the prosecutor is relying on chain-link proof, then omitting one case from the list is interesting to say the least.
 

Marantz4250b

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I was reminded of the Lucia de Berk case, where the prosecution and the court made use of the so called chain-link evidence:


Lucia de Berk - Wikipedia

Chain-link proof​

Of the seven murders and three attempted murders finally attributed to de Berk by the court, the court considered two of them to be proven by medical evidence. According to the court, de Berk had poisoned these two patients. The court then applied a so-called chaining-evidence argument. This means that if the several attempted or actual murders have already been established beyond reasonable doubt, then much weaker evidence than normal is sufficient to establish that a subsequent eight "suspicious incidents" are murders or attempted murders carried out by the same defendant.

BBM

Since we don't know the details of the charges, it is hard to say how 'evidence that isn't evidence at all' would play out in this case, but if the prosecutor is relying on chain-link proof, then omitting one case from the list is interesting to say the least.
I don't think that that sort of evidence would be applicable in a British Court, to be honest. I cannot see any British judge advising a Jury that as long as the prosecution has proved, say, five cases to the relevant standard, then they can convict on the remainder on the balance of probabilities. The point you make is relevant though; if they feel that they can now not prove one the the cases to the relevant standard what does it tell us about the others? The "logical" assumption that most people would make is that whatever they are alleging she has done is largely similar in all of the cases. The fact that they have not proceeded in one of the cases might suggest that they are alleging she has done different things in different cases? That would be extremely strange and unusual - all of the medical murder cases I can think of have featured similar methods so if they are saying that then it would make her case even more bizarre than it already is!

It's also surprising that it's one of the murder cases they are not proceeding on. I'd have been far less surprised were it one of the attempted murder charges as they are usually much harder to prove. I wonder whether it's the one where she is charged with attempted murder as an alternative if they don't want to convict on the murder charge? That always sounded very strange to me.
 

Marantz4250b

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The department at Countess of Chester Hospital was found to have a dangerous lack of staff and suitable equipment, the Care Quality Commission said.

The hospital also scored the lowest rate nationally for staff morale, inspectors found.


I guess that having one of your colleagues spend years on remand for multiple alleged murders (which no one who knows her seems to think she's capable of) is probably not conducive to stellar staff morale!
 

Marantz4250b

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However, in keeping the cases under review, the Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided the “legal test for murder is no longer satisfied” for one of the cases. It therefore provided no evidence in relation to this count.

The CPS said the count of attempted murder in relation to the same deceased victim is continuing and that the child’s parents have been informed of the decision.


So, this IS indeed in relation to the baby for whom the CPS fielded an alternate attempted murder charge for!

This was the child who died at a different location in Liverpool. I forget the name of the place now.

The CPS are saying that the "test for murder is no longer satisfied", but the attempted murder charge is still being pursued. Presumably they are saying that she did something to try to cause death but the chain of causation between that act and the eventual death was broken at some point between the two events or that the child of an unrelated cause.

This case is literally the most ridiculously bizarre case I've ever read about! I doubt we've seen the end of the bizarreness either!
 

ZaZara

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However, in keeping the cases under review, the Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided the “legal test for murder is no longer satisfied” for one of the cases. It therefore provided no evidence in relation to this count.

The CPS said the count of attempted murder in relation to the same deceased victim is continuing and that the child’s parents have been informed of the decision.


So, this IS indeed in relation to the baby for whom the CPS fielded an alternate attempted murder charge for!

This was the child who died at a different location in Liverpool. I forget the name of the place now.

The CPS are saying that the "test for murder is no longer satisfied", but the attempted murder charge is still being pursued. Presumably they are saying that she did something to try to cause death but the chain of causation between that act and the eventual death was broken at some point between the two events or that the child of an unrelated cause.

This case is literally the most ridiculously bizarre case I've ever read about! I doubt we've seen the end of the bizarreness either!

So the child wasn't murdered by person X but died anyway so now it is attempted murder by person X even if the child died of a different cause? The child survived the murder attempt and then died anyway of an unrelated cause?

The mind boggles. it is about time that a clear explanation was given.
 

Marantz4250b

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So the child wasn't murdered by person X but died anyway so now it is attempted murder by person X even if the child died of a different cause? The child survived the murder attempt and then died anyway of an unrelated cause?

The mind boggles. it is about time that a clear explanation was given.
It does seem extremely strange and weird. Yes, they do seem to be saying that her attempt wasn't the cause of the death, or that some other intervening event was the actual cause of death in this case. I get the impression that they felt that the murder charge was "shaky" from the outset which is why they charged attempted murder in the alternative?

I just can't fathom as to what, exactly, they are alledging she's done. Attempted murder cannot be merely doing something badly or negligently. They have to be able to adduce evidence that she had an actual, specific intention in her mind to cause death when she undertook whatever actions she did. This child was literally hours old when the death occurred. Its barely believable that anyone would have an opportunity to physically do something to try to murder said child given how intensly it must have been being monitored. Its even more strange that the hospital nor any medical professional had any knowledge of such evidence for a year or more afterwards until the police started investigating!

What on earth are they alleging she's done here?
 

JosieJo

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I dont find it "odd"as such ...these cases must be extremely complex being extremely sick neonates.
She was charged with both attempted murder and murder for this baby so it follows that the murder charge itself was hanging in the balance from the begining.
Imo most likely they feel they have evidence to show she did something to the child but the child was so ill it was impossible to say the exact cause of death
 

Whitehall 1212

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Can't believe I've missed this! I really should pay more attention.

I don't see that "new" evidence has come to light. The prosecution has said it isn't offering any evidence so, essentially, they are saying that whatever "evidence" they thought they had isn't evidence at all - or, at best, is so weak it doesn't meet the prosecution threshold.
Consider the number of times LL was arrested, interviewed and released under investigation, over an significantly extended period before she was first charged.

This leads me to consider whether the evidence may be heavily circumstantial, in that LL was the only staff member consistently present at the material times, together with a repeated course of conduct, particularly after earlier deaths, that could be used as a persuasive argument by the prosecution to show intent to cause GBH or death.

The actions undertaken in the 'attempted' offences have to be 'more than merely preparatory' to the substantive offence in question, i.e. Murder. E.g. loading a gun, pointing it and issuing threats would not be enough, whereas firing and missing or the gun jamming could be. Ultimately whether an act is 'more than merely preparatory' is one for a jury to decide.


Maybe in the matter of the dropped murder charge, LL is alleged to have undertaken a course of action similar to the other incidences but this did not cause the death of the child on that occasion. Although tragically the child died at a later stage, after further review the weight of the evidence to pursue a substantive charge of murder does no longer meets the CPS charging standard.

There is no doubt that this case is both exceptionally tragic and complex. The negative reviews of CoC Hosp by the RCPCH and NICE may well muddy the waters even further.

I can't think of a recent case where "beyond all reasonable doubt" will be so tangible when considering the evidence.
 

Whitehall 1212

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So the child wasn't murdered by person X but died anyway so now it is attempted murder by person X even if the child died of a different cause? The child survived the murder attempt and then died anyway of an unrelated cause?

The mind boggles. it is about time that a clear explanation was given.
Without getting too bogged down in legislation.....here goes! The Criminal Attempts Act 1981 is the legislation which most commonly legislates for criminal attempts of substantive offences, in this case murder being the substantive offence.

Criminal attempts were prosecuted under Common Law until they were legislated for in the CAA 1981.

One of the reasons for the legislation was to plug a few holes in the Common Law interpretation, a key one being that committing an act, in which the ultimate aim was unknowingly impossible to the offender did not constitute an offence.

Such a case was that of a defendant who was supplying what he thought were class A drugs, when in fact the white powder in the bags was something much less illicit, like baking powder. The CAA 1981 now provides that If the intent to supply what was believed by the defendant to be illicit drugs can be shown, then the offence is complete.

In a case such as LL, even if it was a medical impossibility that her actions could have resulted in the death of a child she could still potentially be found guilty of attempted murder, if the evidence shows beyond all reasonable doubt that she was both unaware of this impossibility and that her intent was to kill.
 
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