James Coutts of Linenhall Chambers was led by Oliver Saxby QC of 6 Pump Court, instructed by Nicola Rees (Senior Crown Prosecutor, CCU CPS Cardiff) in the case of a mother accused of gross negligence manslaughter of one of her twin babies, Rosie.
Sarah Morris, aged 35, has been convicted following trial, of the gross negligence manslaughter of her daughter. Miss Morris had left her twins unattended in a bath for periods of time during a 47-minute phone call with her partner.
The case, tried before Mr Justice Picken at Mold Crown Court, revolved around the definition of gross negligence within the context of a single mother caring for her children, and looking after them as they sat in a bath with about 8 inches of water in it.
Rosie had died on the afternoon of 29th July 2015. A police investigation followed but no charges were brought, Rosie’s death being regarded as a tragic accident. Family Proceedings ensued and the case was then brought back to the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service.
Following an analysis of the evidence (and in particular the various accounts Miss Morris had given), a charge of gross negligence manslaughter was brought.
The trial took two weeks. The Crown called the friend who Miss Morris had been speaking to on the phone, together with background evidence regarding her care of the twins (and advice she had been given), expert evidence on the rate the bath is likely to have drained and causation (the defence served reports suggesting Rosie’s death may have been linked to a heart condition her twin had).
The defendant gave evidence on her own behalf.
The jury were in retirement for about 3 hours and entered a unanimous verdict. Miss Morris was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.