Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 13:31 UK

Freed mother's cash appeal denied

Lorraine Harris
Lorraine Harris's manslaughter conviction was quashed

A Derbyshire woman who was cleared of killing her four-month-old son has failed in her bid for compensation.

Lorraine Allen, formerly Harris, from Long Eaton, was convicted in 2000 of manslaughter, a verdict quashed three years later by the Court of Appeal.

She has since argued she was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and the government should compensate her.

But judges have upheld the Home Office's plea that she simply does not fit the narrow criteria for a payout.

At the original trial the jury was told her son, Patrick McGuire, suffered from "shaken-baby syndrome".

Patrick McGuire
Patrick McGuire was four months old when he died
Mrs Allen, 39, who now lives in Scarborough, Yorkshire, was freed when new medical evidence suggested the injuries could have been caused in other ways.

The government refused compensation for her time in prison on the basis that it should be paid only where a "newly-discovered fact" established a miscarriage of justice.

A High Court judge ruled that although she had been cleared of manslaughter, it fell short of demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

She took her case to the civil Court of Appeal where today three judges upheld that decision. Lord Justice Hughes said the case rested on the interpretation of the expression "miscarriage of justice".

House of Lords

Any conviction found to be unsafe had to be quashed and in one sense, it could be said there had been a miscarriage of justice, he said.

The appeal judge said Tim Owen QC, representing Mrs Allen, had accepted that her innocence had not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt or conclusively by the decision of the judges who quashed her conviction.

Mr Owen had argued that Mrs Allen should succeed because something went seriously wrong with her trial. But this was rejected by the court.

Mrs Allen is now seeking to take her case to the highest court of the land which sits at the House of Lords.


SEE ALSO
Cleared mother in new cash battle
26 Mar 08 |  Derbyshire
'I lost faith in justice'
12 Dec 07 |  England
Cleared mother loses cash battle
10 Dec 07 |  Derbyshire
Baby killer mother set to appeal
21 Apr 05 |  Derbyshire

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