Right to silence questioned after baby's death - UK - News - The Independent

Right to silence questioned after baby's death

A CORONER yesterday questioned the right to silence after hearing that an eight-week-old baby had died in a 'violent, callous and cowardly attack' for which no one has been prosecuted.

The Crown Prosecution Service dropped cruelty charges against the parents of Kim Griffin earlier this year, saying that it had insufficient evidence. Both Ann Griffin and George Hadjouannou had exercised their right to silence and refused to make statements to the police.

Yesterday, Dr Harold Price recorded a verdict of unlawful killing after being told that Kim was rushed to Newham General Hospital, east London, last September with multiple injuries that could not have been caused by accident.

Dr Price said: 'The public are very disquieted that no charges have been brought. I understand that a Royal Commission on the criminal justice system is to report in June this year and it is possible that the right to silence may be one of the subjects (it will address).

'Perhaps in the continental inquisitorial system, this matter might have been brought to court at least, as the rules of evidence are not so strictly adhered to as here.'

The case has already provoked debate among lawyers, with some senior barristers arguing that abolition of the right to silence would have made little practical difference to the chances to bringing a prosecution over Kim's death. The issue is a red herring, they say.

Yesterday, Dr Peter Vanezis, head of Forensic Medicine at Charing Cross Hospital, west London, told Dr Price that Kim's injuries were consistent with her being swung, pulled and violently shaken.

Mr Hadjouannou, who had been ordered to attend the inquest along with Ms Griffin, listened impassively as Dr Vanezis said: 'The child may have been propelled or swung on to a hard surface.

'The broken ribs are compatible a grabbing of the child by the chest and being squeezed and shaken around. The arm was pulled, possibly with a twisting motion.'

The coroner criticised doctors who had seen Kim in the weeks before she died, saying that they 'may have made a more urgent referral to the social services and the child protection team'.

Deborah Sher, a health visitor, said there had been a series of complaints about Kim's condition, including claims that she had been scalded and had a red mark in her mouth. But she initially decided against referring the case to Tower Hamlets social services as the doctors who had examined Kim, Alison Arnott and Jonathon Bernstein of the Royal London Hospital, believed the injuries were not deliberate.

But on 4 September, Ms Sher was told that Mr Hadjouannou had another child in care, prompting her to refer Kim to social workers. Even so, this procedure was only completed on 7 September, the day before Kim was admitted to hospital.

Neither Mr Hadjouannou nor Ms Griffin answered any questions in the witness box, their lawyers telling the court that they had been advised not to do so.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week