Crown to retry man accused of shaking infant daughter

Rosie Mullaley
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Just over a month after a mistrial was declared in the case of a man previously convicted of causing his daughter brain injury by shaking her, the Crown announced its intentions to retry the case.

Colin James Matchim — Telegram file photo

When the case of Colin James Matchim was called Friday morning in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s, prosecutor Phil LeFeuvre told the judge that new trial dates are expected to be set.

He told Justice William Goodridge that a number of medical experts must first be consulted.

The case will be called again in court Dec. 2.

Matchim had been found guilty of aggravated assault following a 17-day trial in November 2011. At that time, Justice Wayne Dymond accepted the evidence that Matchim had caused August Coombs' injuries by shaking her.

However, before sentencing, Matchim’s lawyers filed an application seeking to have the case reopened and new medical evidence introduced.

It was argued at a hearing, which wrapped up in June. During the months of proceedings, the court heard complex medical testimony from experts around the world, all of whom offered their opinions on the validity of shaken baby syndrome and on what they believed caused the child's injuries.

One expert believed it may have been a blood clot. Another said the baby could have had a predisposed condition.

Defence lawyer Erin Breen argued that the experts’ evidence was believable enough that it could have made a difference in the outcome of the trial.

Dymond agreed.

He concluded that had he heard this evidence, he may not have found Matchim guilty and declared a mistrial.

Matchim was in court with Breen. However, Breen indicated that since her firm is working under  Newfoundland Legal Aid certification, Matchim’s legal representation has to be reviewed.

“We may have to take other steps to ensure Mr. Matchim is represented for trial,” Breen said.

She indicated she would know more about the status of that when the case returns to court next month.

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Newfoundland Legal Aid

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