Nurses cleared after 6-day abuse argument at Old Bailey
Two nurses, MM and GP, have had cases against them dropped today after six days of legal argument. Following extensive submissions that the proceedings against them were an abuse of the process of the court, the Crown has now offered no evidence, bringing the trial at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) to an end. Four barristers from Doughty Street represented the two nurses. MM was represented by Adrian Waterman QC and Katy Thorne, instructed by Jenny Wiltshire of Hickman and Rose Solicitors, and GP was represented by Rebecca Trowler QC and Benjamin Newton, instructed by Anna Renou of ITN Solicitors.
MM and GP were working at a Marie Stopes clinic which offered pregnancy terminations, when a patient presented at the clinic in January 2012 for a late-stage termination. She died shortly after being discharged, owing to an injury sustained during surgery. Three and a half years later her surgeon, and two nurses providing post-surgical care, were charged with gross negligence manslaughter and Health and Safety offences. After the service of extensive expert evidence by the defence teams the manslaughter charge was dropped in May 2016, but the Crown decided to proceed against the two nurses on a charge of failure to take reasonable care under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The trial of the two nurses began on 22nd June. An application to stay the proceedings was made over six days on the grounds that the Crown Prosecution Service failed to apply its own policy, that required it to take into account the policy of the Health and Safety Executive which generally does not prosecute in the context of alleged failings in clinical judgment and quality of care.
Having again reviewed whether or not to proceed, the Crown offered no evidence today having concluded that it no longer had confidence in its own earlier decision-making processes.
The Judge granted costs orders in favour of the defendants, and ordered that there be a review at the highest level into failures in the CPS decision-making process, and the significant delay in bringing charges.