State to indict father in 'shaking twins' affair

Mother will not be indicted. One of two babies allegedly died from father shaking baby too hard.

By
July 24, 2012 21:26
2 minute read.
Twin babies sleeping [illustrative photo]

Twin babies sleeping 390 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)

 
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The Justice Ministry released a statement on Tuesday that it would seek to indict the father for manslaughter – but not the mother – in the “shaking twins” affair that allegedly led to the death of one four-month-old baby and injuries to another in January.

There is a ban on publishing names of the victims or the parents under investigation.

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The state said that after examining the case, it has sufficient evidence that the father shook the twins and that his actions led to the death of one of them.

The state said it will argue that the death was caused unintentionally, but that the father did intentionally commit acts of violence against the baby who died and those acts of violence did cause the baby’s death – making an allegation of manslaughter appropriate.

Other charges that the state plans to submit against the father are abuse and assault of a minor or helpless person, including causing severe physical harm.

It was unclear why the state had decided not to indict the mother, who along with the father, was arrested and questioned by police after the twins – a boy and a girl – were brought to a hospital with injuries that suggested having been physically abused or at least violently shaken. Still, the case against the mother has not been officially closed, so the state could decide to indict her at a later date if new evidence arises.

The father technically has the opportunity to head-off the indictment at a hearing before Deputy Tel Aviv District Attorney Nava Schiller sometime in the next 45 days.

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However, it is rare for the state to back down from filing an indictment based on the preindictment hearing once it has announced an initial intention to indict.

At an earlier remand hearing, a police representative had claimed that the police had “smoking gun” level evidence against the parents.

Reacting to the announcement, the parents’ attorney Zion Amir on Tuesday told The Jerusalem Post: “We welcome the prosecution’s decision not to press charges against the mother.

Regarding the father, we are hopeful that during the hearing process that is set to occur within the upcoming month we will be able to prove that charges should also not be brought against the father.”

The parents have previously claimed that the baby who died suffered from a rare genetic disease.

The investigation started shortly after the twins were brought to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer and hospitalized with bone fractures, when the National Council for the Child called on police to investigate whether they were victims of “shaken baby” syndrome.

The twins, who were four months old at the time, were rushed to the hospital in January with internal injuries. At the time Prof. Gidi Porat, director of Intensive Care at the hospital, said they did not rule out the possibility that the babies suffered from a genetic disease.

Shaken baby syndrome is an intermediate condition between an accident and physical abuse of children.

The shaking of the head and neck can cause serious brain damage, head fractures and broken ribs. Most parents, or other adults, do not intend to harm infants, but rather seek to quiet them out of frustration over their crying.

Yaakov Lappin and Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

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