There has been much development in shaken baby syndrome (SBS) / abusive head trauma (AHT) cases in Japan this year so far.
On January 28, the Osaka High Court affirmed a not- guilty verdict in a case of a father alledged to have abused his girlfriend’s daughter, causing head trauma.
On February 6, the Osaka High Court reversed and found not-guilty in a case of a mother, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison (sentence suspended for five years) in Osaka District Court in 2018. The Osaka High Court stated that the defence witnesses’s (neurosurgeons) testimonies were more reliable than the pediatrician’s who testified for the prosecution.
Then on February 7, the Tachikawa Branch of the Tokyo District Court handed down a not-guilty verdict in a case of a father indicted of shaking his daughter to death. You can read about the decision here (in English).
These decisions have all pointed out that just because there is the “triad” or other symptoms, you cannot simply conclude that the baby was actually abused: there needs to be a thorough review of cases.
There many more cases still pending. We hope that there wil be a more scientific and rational decision on SBS/AHT in Japan in the future.