Swedish doc to face trial over baby’s death

The paediatrician suspected of the alleged mercy killing of a baby at Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital in Stockholm in September 2008 is to face trial for manslaughter, the prosecutor decided Tuesday.

Swedish doc to face trial over baby's death

Following the announcement defence lawyer Björn Hurtig said he would take it up with the Swedish prosecutor-general. His client is reportedly devastated by the news.

The three-month-old baby was terminally ill with serious brain damage after having been born 15 weeks premature. The birth was complicated and the baby was born unconscious due to a lack of oxygen.

The doctor was charged with manslaughter following the suspicion of deliberately having administered a high dose of the anaesthetic Pentothal in combination with morphine, in order to speed up the baby’s death.

The baby girl’s condition worsened when a nurse administered an overdose of saline solution at birth.

A subsequent ultrasound revealed that the newborn had suffered from cerebral haemorrhaging on both sides of her brain.

The case generated a heated debate in Sweden.

Medical colleagues and the unions criticized the police and prosecutors for their handling of the case following the public arrest of the doctor at her place of work in March 2009.

The doctor was subsequently released from custody after a successful appeal and denied any wrongdoing. She was suspended from her position at the hospital throughout the course of the investigation.

A report from Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) published in October 2009 cleared the doctor of any wrongdoing in connection with the baby’s death.

The board did however confirm the findings from an autopsy conducted on the baby, which found abnormally high levels of both Pentothal and morphine in the child’s blood.

The board was at the time unable to explain the existence of the anaesthetic as its use was not mentioned anywhere in the medical records.

It is now up to the district court in Solna to set a trial date. Manslaughter carries a penalty of between six and ten years in prison in Sweden.

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Pirate Bay lawyer to take over Assange defence

Julian Assange has dumped his Swedish lawyer in favour of a new defence team which includes an attorney involved in the Pirate Bay trial, as the WikiLeaks founder continues to fight his extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sex crimes accusations.

Pirate Bay lawyer to take over Assange defence

In a petition filed with the Stockholm District Court on Thursday, Assange said he wanted to work with attorneys Per E. Samuelson and Thomas Olsson rather than Björn Hurtig, who has representated Assange since September 2010.

Olsson told the TT news agency that he’s only had contact with Assange for a short period of time.

“He’ll have to explain his motivation behind changing defenders,” said Olsson.

Olsson has now begun reviewing Assange’s case, including the details of the sex crimes allegations against him – and plans to provide his view on the case at the beginning of next week.

He refused to speculate, however, on whether the decision to changes attorneys had any connection to plans Assange may have to come to Sweden.

On Tuesday, Assange applied for Britain’s Supreme Court to hear his appeal against a decision by the High Court in London ruling that the 40-year-old Australian could be sent to Sweden to face questioning over claims of rape and sexual assault made by two women.

Hurtig said that there is “absolutely no” conflict between him and Assange that lies behind the decision to change lawyers.

“You’ll have to ask him why he’s decided to change. But it’s not unusual that someone change lawyers and he’s chosen two superb new representatives. I wish him the best of luck,” Hurtig told TT.

Hurtig was also unaware as to whether the change of attorneys had anything do to with the possibility that Assange may be coming to Sweden before the expected December 5th decision by the Supreme Court in Britain about whether or not it will take up Assange’s case.

Hurtig took over the Assange case in September 2010 after the WikiLeaks founder dropped Leif Silbersky due to difficulties staying in contact with the attorney.

Samuelson previously represented financier Carl Lundström, one of the four defendants in the 2009 Pirate Bay trial, all of whom were found guilty of being an “accessory to breaching copyright law”.

Olsson has previously represented Thomas Quick, a convicted Swedish serial killer currently serving a life term in a psychiatric institution after being convicted of eight murders committed between 1976 and 1988.

However, after withdrawing his confessions in 2008 he has been granted several retrials and been acquitted of two of the killings.