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
    behaviour.

    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
    only.

    “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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