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R v (1) Angela Alison Gay (2) Ian Anthony Gay [2006] EWCA Crim 820

Convictions for manslaughter were unsafe where fresh medical evidence that contradicted the prosecution expert evidence might have led the jury to reach a different conclusion about whether adoptive parents had unlawfully administered a large amount of salt to a child.

28 April 2006

The appellants (G) appealed against their convictions for manslaughter. G had been assessed as suitable to adopt, and three children including the victim (V), who was three-and-a-half years old, had been placed with them. Some months later V had been admitted to hospital after being found unconscious by G. He died three days later. G were arrested and charged with murder and, on an alternate basis, manslaughter. At trial expert medical evidence was given to the effect that D had suffered trauma to his head, he had severe hypernatraemia (an exceptionally high concentration of sodium in his blood) and unusual abnormalities to his heart. The prosecution put forward the case for manslaughter on the basis, inter alia, that V's death was caused by the unlawful administration of salt by G, and expert evidence was called to that effect. G denied giving salt to V. An expert called by G gave evidence that whilst he could not suggest other causes of the hypernatraemia he was not sure it was du...

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