Manslaughter trial continues

THE trial continues in the Supreme Court in Townsville today of Mark Albert Shoesmith who faces a charge of manslaughter.

The 30-year-old labourer was charged after the death of a three-month-old baby at Conway Beach in December 2007.

This is the fourth day of the trial.

Baby Rose-Marie died after she was taken to Prosperine Hospital by Shoesmith and the 17-year-old mother on December 9, 2007 with large skull fractures and extensive brain injuries.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury said the baby was air-lifted to Townsville but her life support was switched off five days later.

She said Shoesmith told police in his interview that the child “hit her head on a coffee table and concrete floor” after falling between his legs when he was sitting on the couch.

It is believed Shoesmith was not the biological father and came on the scene a week before the baby was born.

Yesterday in court, a medical witness said several of the child's injuries could have been caused by violent shaking and some were unlikely to be accidental.

Paediatric radiologist Dr Anthony Lamont assessed the infant's x-rays and scans after she was airlifted .

“It is a star-shaped fracture ...due to some kind of blow,” he said when referring to the skull scan.

“In order to get that extent of damage I would expect a very substantial amount of force.”

Dr Lamont also took the court through Rose-Marie's skeletal x-rays, identifying fractured shin and thigh bones about two weeks old and a fractured collarbone around three weeks old.

The doctor, who is also an associate professor in radiology, said the collarbone injury could have been from an accidental fall, but the leg fractures were “classical non-accidental injuries''.

“It would have taken a shearing force... twisting, pulling or shaking if violently enough can cause these injuries,'' Dr Lamont said.

Intensive care consultant, Dr Emma Hothersall, who treated the infant in the hospital's emergency department, said the patient's brain injuries were so severe that surgery was not an option.

Dr Hothersall said a neurosurgeon who assessed the baby's fractured skull “believed there was no operation he could do to treat the injury'' and her job was simply to put the child on life support and administer sedatives to reduce swelling.

``Sadly despite our best efforts the brain continued to swell to the point where it was compressed,'' she said.

``The supply of blood was cut off and the child was brain dead.''

Rose-Marie's life support was switched off five days after she was admitted to hospital by Shoesmith and the mother of the child.

Forensic pathologist, Dr David Williams, who did an autopsy on the baby listed her cause of death as “non-accidental''.

The trial continues today and is expected to run until next Tuesday.

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