Author Archives: Kana Sasakura

Osaka High Court clears grandmother in a SBS case

The Osaka High Court (Chief Judge: Hiroaki Murayama), on 25th October 2019 handed down a not-guilty judgment for a grandmother who was convicted in 2017 for shaking her granddaughter to death. She had always maintained her innocence.

       The incident occurred in April 2016. Ms. Yasuko Yamauchi was looking after her two granddaughters at her daughter’s home when the younger granddaughter (2 months old) collapsed. The baby died three months later.  Ms. Yamauchi was prosecuted for shaking her granddaughter (or applying some kind of external force to the baby’s head) and injuring her which resulted in her death. The prosecution based their case on the opinions of doctors who alleged it was shaken baby syndrome (SBS).

       The district court, based on the doctors’ opinions and testimonies and the “triad” of symptoms, sentenced her to 5 years and 6 months in prison with labor. She appealed the decision.

       The attorneys who are also members of the SBS Review Project took the case at the high court. With much research, the defense team found out that the baby had CVST and DIC, a condition in which a blood clot develops in the brain. They did so with a help of two neurosurgeons who also testified for the defendant at the high court.

       The high court found factual error in the district court’s decision and reversed, declaring that Ms. Yamauchi is not guilty. The court found that there is a reasonable possibility that the baby’s symptoms were caused by CVST and DIC.

       The high court also touched upon the problematic features of fact-finding based on the SBS hypothesis:

       This case shows the danger of fact-finding based on the SBS theory. If the SBS theory is simply applied, it would be a cause for a mechanical and stereotypical fact finding, which leads to factual error. (*translated and summarized by author)

        The court also looked at the circumstances surrounding the defendant and the victim. The court found that Ms. Yamauchi is not at all a violent person and had no stress in looking after the children.  When the circumstances surrounding Ms. Yamauchi and the incident was taken into consideration, the court found no motive for Ms. Yamauchi to hurt the child.

This court finds it not realistic to think the defendant would shake the baby as such. Considering the defendant’s age and body shape, body strength, defendant’s personal circumstances and the circumstance of the incident, it is unnatural to think that the defendant would shake the baby as alleged.

Considering the above factors, there is significant doubt that the defendant had shaken or applied some kind of violence to the baby as charged. (*translated and summarized by author)

          It also pointed out the problems of the fact-finding process of the district court.

The district court had premised that the baby’s symptoms must have caused by external force. With this in mind, the district court, by using process of elimination, concluded that the defendant must have been the perpetrator. This kind of fact-finding is generally accepted. However, in this case, this process of elimination is very problematic: facts or opinions which on their face have sufficient grounds might be wrong. The process of elimination, other than in some cases, can lead to conclude that someone is the perpetrator even if there is no evidence or facts pointing him/her as the such. When these two logics are combined and especially in cases where it is disputed whether the defendant is the perpetrator or not, even though the real issue not properly reviewed was whether the incident was a crime or not, the rebuttal from the defendant will not function and the finding of guilt becomes unavoidable. This is a cause for a grave problem in fact-finding in a criminal trial. (*translated and summarized by author)

Masashi Akita, one of the attorneys for Ms. Yamauchi and co-founder/ co-director of SBS Review Project, commented:

“This ruling also covered the manner of deciding cases that concludes abuse was involved based solely on medical observations. There will be a need for a fundamental review of how investigative organs and child consultation centers deal with such cases.” (Grandma cleared of conviction for shaken baby syndrome death, Asahi Shimbun Newspapers, 26 October, 2019.)




(1) つぎに、カバゾス対スミス事件における連邦最高裁の判決について見てみましょう。


〔SBS検証プロジェクトが〕「本当に中立的な立場で検証を行っているのであれば、2011年の米国の最高裁判決(Cavazos v. Smith, 565 U.S. 1 (2011))についても触れるべきである。このSmith事件において米国最高裁は「SBS否定派」のUschinski、Squire〔ママ〕、Donohoe, Bandakらの「新しい研究」を完全に否定している。」(同書「訳者による解説」375頁、強調は引用者)


(2) カバゾス対スミス事件(Cavazos v. Smith, 132 S.Ct. 2 (2011))は、次のような事件です。

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  1. 溝口医師の記述


  • 「…Audrey Edmunds事件(ベビーシッティング中に生後六ヵ月児が急変し、保育を行っていたAudrey Edmundsが有罪となったが、その約10年後に「SBS/AHTに関する医学界の進歩は著しく、これらの新しい進歩は新たな証拠となりうる」との主張に基づき再審開始決定がなされ、検察が訴えを取り下げたために釈放された事件。裁判所は “新しい研究”の新規性は認めたが、信用性まで認めたわけではない点に注意していただきたい)のような混乱を避ける意味で、このような検証は司法プロセスとは完全に切り分けて、医学的に行うことが望まれる。」(同書「訳者による解説」360-361頁)
  • 〔SBS検証プロジェクトが〕「本当に中立的な立場で検証を行っているのであれば、2011年の米国の最高裁判決(Cavazos v. Smith, 565 U.S. 1 (2011))についても触れるべきである。このSmith事件において米国最高裁は「SBS否定派」のUschinski、Squire〔ママ〕、Donohoe, Bandakらの「新しい研究」を完全に否定している。」(同書「訳者による解説」375頁)


2 . エドモンズ事件について

 Audrey Edmunds(オードリー・エドモンズ)事件(以下「エドモンズ事件」)は、SBS/AHTに関する議論の歴史の中でも特に重要な事件です。なぜならば、SBS事件について有罪判決後に本格的に取り組まれ、雪冤された初期の事例だからです。また、イノセンス・プロジェクトをはじめとするイノセンス団体が、本格的にSBSの問題に取り組むようになったきっかけとなる事件でもありました。

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 2018年に「乳児と子どもの虐待による頭部外傷に関する共同声明 Consensus statement on abusive head trauma in infants and young children 」が公表されました。

  米国を中心とした小児科医らが執筆し、米国小児放射線学会(SPR)、米国小児科学会(AAP)などが共同で 出したものです。この中に、日本小児科学会も参加しています。








是非お読み下さい。→ こちら






ダ・ヴィンチニュース「赤ちゃんが頭にケガ、もし虐待を疑われたら…? 親が知っておきたい対策法【本当にあった恐ろしいケース】」(2018年8月17日)

大人んサー「乳幼児が頭を打つと、親の“虐待”が疑われるケースが増加 医師らが出版、経緯を聞く」(2018年9月10日)

週刊女性PRIME「不慮の事故でも児相に即、通報! 無実の“虐待親”を生み出す恐怖のシステム」(2018年10月9日号)




スウェーデン調査② 2018年2月9日スウェーデン行政最高裁判決





「SBU報告書からすれば,三徴候の存在から暴力的な揺さぶりを示す推認の科学的根拠は少ない。本件において,頸部の軟部組織の損傷など,他の証拠は存在しない。さらに,子どもの急性の症状の前にあったとされる出来事については,目撃者の証言もなければ他の状況証拠もない。本裁判所はこのような状況において, CCが暴力的な揺さぶり によって虐待されたということを,十分な確実性をもって調査できたということはできないと結論づける。



RFFR(スウェーデンのえん罪被害者団体)の副代表であるMats Hellbergさんが元の行政最高裁判決を英訳して下さいましたので、日本語に翻訳することができました。まだ「仮訳」ではありますが、是非お読み下さい。

180915スウェーデン行政最高裁2018年2月9日判決 翻訳

Swedish Supreme Court Decision Japanese Translation 

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