Life-threatening violence against a baby

Scan of a human brain. Photo: University of California San Francisco

Parents charged with life-threatening violence against baby

A couple from Hønefoss are charged with gross bodily harm against their 11 weeks old baby. They have a contact ban but have supervised visiting rights during the investigation. The baby suffered life-threatening injuries.


The baby is, at least for the moment, no longer listed as life-threatingly injured.

“The child is in somewhat better condition, but it is most likely to suffer from very serious brain damage the rest of its life. The life-threatening situation is now over, but the situation may relapse rapidly,” Inspector at South East Police District, Per Thomas Omholt, informs.

Brought to the hospital in June

The eleven weeks old baby was brought to Ullevål hospital on June 15th. The case has, however, not been made public before the police convened a press conference on the matter today, Thursday.

“Health professionals notify that the damage was, in all likelihood, inflicted,” the Police Inspector explains.

This led the police to initiate an investigation. The prosecution appointed a forensic doctor. It is on the basis of the report from this doctor, together with other findings, that makes the police believe that the baby has been inflicted injuries.

The parents were arrested on June 20th, but are released from custody. Neither of them acknowledges guilt.

Contact ban

The police have not provided much information about the couple, except that they are from Hønefoss, and that they regard them as «an ordinary couple. The police also do not want to inform whether there are other children in the family.

The couple is charged according to section 274 of the Norwegian Criminal Code, second paragraph, which deals with serious bodily injury against a defenceless person. They are banned from contacting the child.

“They’ve had some exceptions to this ban, because the injury was a life-threatening one, and one thought the child was going to die. They have, therefore, been granted limited contact, with the police present,” Inspector Omholt informs.

Support Lawyer for the child, Stian Hatleberg, tells that a claim for compensation will be assessed based on the child’s situation, its development and the situation as such.

“It is common to treat compensation in connection with a possible criminal case,” Hatleberg explains.

 


 

Hydrocephalus?

The police investigate according to three hypotheses

  • The injuries have been intentionally inflicted on the child
  • The injuries are the result of an accident
  • There are medical reasons for the serious injuries

Hydrocephalus is in the picture, something which there is a lot of discussion about among academics,” Omholt continues.

He emphasises the discussion of the so-called triad, which consists of bleeding beneath the brain’s surface membranes, bleeding from the eyelids and brain damage – something that has been used to determine whether the baby is likely to be exposed to, among other things, «shaken baby syndrome».

Scientists have a theory that the symptoms can be confused with congenital Hydrocephalus.

Asks for external expertise

Sidsel Katralen is the defence lawyer for the mother, who thus denies the charge against her.

“The mother is, of course, keen to find the cause of the injuries and wants the police to investigate the case objectively,” Katralen states, adding:

“She asks, among other things, for objective experts, possibly from abroad.” 

The father, who has been appointed lawyer Jon Anders Hasle as his defence, also requests that external expertise be obtained.

“He feels that it is absolutely terrible to have a charge against him. The worst part is that the child is in the state that it is in,” Hasle tells NTB, adding:

“The parents want to stay with the child all the time, but the contact ban prevents this.”

“They have demanded the ban lifted. The court will deal with the case next Wednesday,” Hasle rounds off.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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