Child death report overstated father’s brain injury

The brain injury suffered by Alexander Ness, who was convicted
last year of killing his infant son Caleb in 200, was
“overstressed” in the O’Brien inquiry report into
Caleb’s death, according consultant neuropsychiatrist Dr Alan
Carson, writes Maggie Wood.

Speaking at a conference on brain injury and child protection in
Glenrothes last week, Carson, from the Scottish Neurobehavioural
Rehabilitation Service, said that criminal and cultural factors
that existed before a brain injury should play a greater part in
assessing risk to children than a brain injury itself.

He added that the brain injury suffered by Ness was probably a
“relatively minor factor” in the death of Caleb, and
that he would have put “more weight” onto pre-existing

But report author Susan O’Brien QC told the conference
that Ness’s criminal history prior to his brain injury
indicated that Ness had a history of violence towards adults

“The police were quite clear that there was no evidence
that Ness had ever behaved badly towards children in the
past,” O’Brien said.

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