Justice

‘Unimaginable horror’: Parents wrongly accused of baby-shaking speak out

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   When their five-month-old daughter Effie collapsed in the early hours of August 2016, parents Craig Stillwell and Carla Andrews rushed her to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. They could never have predicted what would happen next. Things escalated fast. With doctors unable to deduce a natural cause for Effie’s seizure, police and social workers were called. Accused of shaking his baby, it was a matter of hours before Stillwell was arrested. Once she was released from hospital, Effie was placed in foster care and her parents were only allowed to see her in a contact centre for a few hours a week. Tests for the rare genetic condition Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) eventually revealed that Effie suffered from Type IV, which can cause easy bruising and spontaneous bleeds on the brain. Nine months later, as we reported previously, Stillwell has been acquitted and Effie …

Parents bring daughter home after misdiagnosis of ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   A couple has been cleared of harming their baby daughter at Milton Keynes family court after an eight-month ordeal. The judgment handed down last week brought an end to accusations of baby-shaking that had begun at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where Craig Stillwell and Carla Andrews had taken Effie after she collapsed at the age of five months. Just hours after they arrived at the hospital last August, the couple was told that social services were on their way to ask them a few questions. ‘Instead,’ Carla Andrews told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, ‘it was the police that turned up.’ Accused of harming his baby by shaking her, Craig Stillwell was handcuffed and taken into custody. As their daughter lay in hospital, neither parent was allowed onto the ward for a week. Proponents of so-called Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) argue that …

Government’s ‘radical’ prison reform programme is ‘fairly minimal’, say MPs

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   An influential group of MPs has called the government’s prison reform programme a ‘fairly minimal and eclectic set of measures’. The government last week dropped the Prisons and Courts Bill, which contained proposals for a radical overhaul of prisons as well as plans for online courts, to make way for the snap election. The proposed legislation was scheduled to be debated in its committee stage when Theresa May made her surprise announcement. ‘We hope that the next Government, of whatever complexion, will attach a high priority to prison reform,’ said Bob Neill, the Conservative chair of the committee. ‘In the expectation that legislation on prisons will be brought forward early in the next Parliament, we think it is right for us to express our views in this Report on the provisions of this Bill.’ Read here for the latest Ministry of …