Thursday, August 5, 1999 Published at 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Nanny sentencing deferred
Manjit Kaur Basuta: A tense wait for sentence
A British childminder who was convicted of shaking a baby to death has had her sentencing postponed by a judge in San Diego.
Judge William Kennedy deferred sentencing to consider further the appropriate penalty.
He said he was concerned that a life sentence might be cruel, but probation could be too lenient.
He instructed attorneys to research sentencing for similar cases under similar law in other states, and sentencing in cases with equally serious charges in California.
He told the court: "We are dealing with a human being's life."
A new court date has been set for 1 October.
Basuta's brother Amarjit Singh said he was worried about the impact the delay would have on his sister.
He said: "I shudder to think how she must be feeling.
"She has already had to endure this ridiculous wait for a sentence for something she did not do, and now she has got to go back into solitary confinement and wait until 1 October for sentence to be finally passed."
The prosecution said that she slammed him to the ground, and he died the following day of massive head injuries.
Her lawyers say the trial judge refused to allow important evidence to be heard.
They claim that the child had a previous head injury, but say they were not allowed to cross-examine experts in court on how that might have led to his death.
Prayers said by family
She and her husband, along with their three children, have lived in California for 10 years since she left her job as a nurse in Berkshire.
Some of Mrs Basuta's family had flown to San Diego from the UK to hear the sentence delivered, while others gathered at a temple in Slough to say prayers for her.
They wanted to see Mrs Basuta getting the same sort of support that the British au pair Louise Woodward received when she was facing a life sentence in an American prison for shaking a child to death.