A lawyer who worked for British au pair Louise Woodward has said the defence team of Irish nanny Aisling McCarthy Brady is going ‘on the offensive’ as their client awaits prosecution.
Elaine Whitfield Sharp, an attorney who was part of the defense team for Woodward in her landmark 1997 child abuse case, said: “They’re suggesting that something is smoldering beneath the surface.
“A child has allegedly been intentionally killed here. And so a jury is going to want somebody to pay. The job of a good defense lawyer is to show a jury there is an alternative theory of causation that maybe the child wasn’t deliberately attacked.”
Brady is accused of brutally assaulting a one-year-old Cambridge girl who later died from her injuries.
The Quincy nanny’s lawyer Melinda L. Thompson has filed an exhaustive list of evidence she wants preserved in the case.
The Boston Herald reports that the list, if approved by a judge, could push prosecutors to widen the scope of their own probe.
Thompson has requested prosecutors to preserve everything from her client’s own daily journals and the child’s travel itinerary to the names of all those who had access to little Rehma Sabir in the months before her death.
Brady has been held on $500,000 cash bail since her arrest last month.
Noted defense attorney Timothy Bradl told the Boston Herald that child assault cases often hinge on who had access to the victim.
He said: “It forces lawyers to take a very clinical approach and cast a wide net.
“But if the prosecutors don’t have the evidence Thompson is requesting, the question is whether a judge will force them to get it.
“Usually the answer is no. But if they don’t, they risk having the rug pulled out from under them at trial if maybe the defense goes out on their own and investigates.
“The worst possible scenario for the government is they put blinders on to a viable alternative.”
Attorney Harvey Silverglate, who also represented Woodward, told the paper that the science behind shaken-baby cases has changed since then with other medical conditions emerging as explanations for what is initially viewed as abuse.
Silverglate said: “If you start out with a preconception the baby died of shaken baby syndrome and it was the caretaker, then you close your eyes to all of the other possibilities.”
Brady is due back in court on February 22nd. Her lawyer declined to comment.