Father convicted of manslaughter in 'shaking twins' affair

One four-month-old baby died and another suffered injuries in 2012 incident; parents claim twins suffered from rare genetic disease.

Newborn baby [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Newborn baby [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
The Tel Aviv District Court convicted a father on Thursday of manslaughter and physical harm for shaking his four-month-old twins in January 2012, an act that led to the death of one baby and left the other injured.
The babies’ mother was not indicted in the incident, since she had been outside of their residence at the time, while the father was present when the injured twins were found.
Although the parents had claimed that the baby who died had suffered from a rare genetic disease, the court rejected that contention based on medical evidence that the twins had internal injuries that only a shaking could have caused.
The father’s lawyer vowed to appeal the ruling, which he characterized as unfair, to the Supreme Court.
Even after the verdict, there remains a ban on publishing the names of the victims or the parents.
Before the conviction, the state had said that after examining the case, it had sufficient evidence that the father had shaken the twins and that this had led to the death of one of them. At the time, the state said it would argue that the death was unintentional, but that the father had intentionally committed acts of violence against the baby who had died and that those acts of violence had caused the child’s death, making an allegation of manslaughter appropriate.
At an earlier remand hearing, one police representative claimed that the police had “smoking gun”-level evidence against the parents.
Near the beginning of the case, the parents’ attorney, Zion Amir, told The Jerusalem Post that “we welcome the prosecution’s decision not to press charges against the mother.
Regarding the father, we are hopeful that during the hearing process... we will be able to prove that charges should also not be brought against the father.”
The investigation started shortly after the twins were brought to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, when the National Council of the Child called on police to investigate whether the twins hospitalized with bone fractures were victims of “shaken baby” syndrome.
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 – who do this do not intend to harm the infants, but are frustrated by their crying and want to quiet them.
Yaakov Lappin and Judy Siegel contributed to this report.