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Jury to begin deliberating in case of GP charged with murder of her daughter

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the jury should deliberate in a cool, collected manner.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

A JURY WILL begin deliberating tomorrow morning in the trial of a doctor, charged with the manslaughter of her profoundly disabled daughter by giving her too much sedative.

The Offaly GP is charged with unlawfully killing 11-year-old Emily Barut, who was profoundly disabled, at their home at Emvale, Bachelor’s Walk, Tullamore. It’s alleged that she killed her by an act of gross negligence involving the administration of an excessive quantity of chloral hydrate on Saturday, 15 September, 2012.

The 58-year-old has pleaded not guilty and is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Ms Barut had microcephaly, severe epilepsy and couldn’t speak or move. She’d been in pain for the last eight days of her life, having had a medical procedure to replace the tube into her stomach, through which she received fluids and medication.

Ms Scully said she had administered chloral hydrate when her daughter became upset at 2am and 6am that day. She said her daughter then had a massive fit after 11am and she administered more.

Emotional

Both sides gave their closing speeches yesterday, each noting what an emotional case it had been. Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy then began his charge, telling the jurors to leave all emotion to one side and approach their deliberations in a cool, collected manner.

He also explained the law as it related to the case.

He said they had to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused’s conduct was a substantial cause of death. He said the State must also prove that the accused had a duty of care to the deceased.

He explained that, for manslaughter, the accused must have failed to observe the ordinary and necessary care expected of her to the point that she was negligent in a very high degree. That negligence must have brought a very high degree of risk of substantial personal injury to others.

He told the jurors that they had to decide what negligence to a very high degree would be and what would bring a very high degree of risk to others.

He explained that the test was an objective one.

“In some cases in these courts, it’s of importance what the state of mind of the person was,” he said. “Not in this case.”

He said that, in theory, a person could be negligent and guilty of manslaughter without even knowing it.

He said that was the general rule.

“There is a modification or there is a gloss on it in the case of professional people such as a doctor,” he explained.

“If a doctor follows general and approved medical practice followed by a substantial number of reputable practitioners, she can follow it without fear of a finding of negligence, unless it’s obviously defective,” he said.

He said a departure from that practice was not necessarily negligent, unless it involved something no similarly qualified expert exercising care would do.

The judge told the seven women and five men of the jury to take as long or as short a time as they liked, but that their verdict must be unanimous

Read: ‘I just took her up in my arms and held her’: Mother gives evidence about the night her daughter died

Read: Mother allegedly gave daughter toxic level of sedative, court hears

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Natasha Reid

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