Scientific advances have meant that the case against Irish-born nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy, arrested on suspicion of killing Rehma Sabir, a one-year old child in her care in Boston in January 2013, has been severely weakened.
Defense lawyers announced last week they now have nine medical experts who are convinced the death of the baby wasn't homicide. Following their announcement, Judge Maureen Hogan approved a complete review of the case against McCarthy.
Boston Herald columnist Pete Gelzinis has revealed that a key witness, Dr. Patrick Barnes, who testified as the lead witness for the prosecution in the infamous Louise Woodward case 16 years ago, has now switched sides and is testifying for the defense in the Brady McCarthy case.
“After my experience as a witness for the prosecution in the Woodward case,” Barnes said in a PBS interview, “we started using more advance imaging techniques and realized there were a number of medical conditions that can affect a baby’s brain and look like symptoms we used to attribute to shaken baby syndrome”
Experts say the prosecution has massive problems now that a judge has ordered a review of their evidence.
“It’s almost unheard of,” said veteran Boston defense lawyer Michael Doolin. “Obviously, [McCarthy’s] defense counsel has produced a significant amount of medical evidence that runs counter to what the medical examiner had,” said Doolin. “Still, it’s a rare occurrence that something like this happens.”
On Tuesday, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Maureen B. Hogan will consider releasing Aisling Brady McCarthy on bail –she'll have to wear a GPS bracelet – thanks to the “re-review” of the evidence in this case.
Harvey Silverglate, who, along with Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project appealed the Woodward case, said he found the re-review in the McCarthy case both unusual and heartening.
“The prosecution in these cases generally are like a steamroller going downhill,” Silverglate said, “but we’ve now arrived at a point of critical mass where too many innocent people have been charged with crimes based on science that has proven to be little more than hokum.”