Colin Matchim acquitted in baby-shaking case
Colin Matchim, who had been convicted of shaking and severely injuring his infant daughter in 2011, was acquitted in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday.
"Just emotional right now... not really ready to talk about things," Matchim told reporters who had gathered outside court.
Matchim's saga began in March 2009, when he was accused of shaking his then three and a half month old daughter. After a lengthy trial, he was convicted of aggravated assault.
However, as Matchim was about to be sentenced, his new lawyers told the court they wanted to call evidence that refuted the shaken baby syndrome theory. The lawyers called four expert witnesses.
After hearing that evidence, the justice declared a mistrial, saying the evidence could have raised reasonable doubt at the original trial.
This past November, the Crown said it was going to re-try Matchim.
However, on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle told the court that the Crown would not be proceeding, and that there was likely no chance of getting a conviction.
Erin Breen, Matchim's lawyer, welcomed the decision.
"I think that the entry of the acquittal today by the Crown is an acknowledgement that his conviction was wrongful," said Breen.
Just emotional right now... not really ready to talk about things.- Colin Matchim
Breen credited the experts that the defence called to the stand.
"The science that has evolved since the year 2000 has unravelled this theory. There is really no scientific basis for this theory in a case such as we were presented with," Breen told reporters.
Matchim spent a year in prison, and will now decide whether to file a suit for wrongful conviction.
He will also have to apply to family court to get access to his daughter.
Matchim's former partner, who is the child's mother, left the courtroom clearly upset after the acquittal was entered.
She told CBC News that she did not want to speak to the media.
- An earlier version of this report wrongly attributed a quote to Crown attorney Frances Knickle that was actually made by defence lawyer Erin Breen.May 07, 2014 8:25 PM NT