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Acquittal of optometrist Honey Rose will stand following death of Ipswich boy Vincent Barker

PUBLISHED: 17:18 17 October 2017

Vinnie Barker

Vinnie Barker

Archant

The case of an optometrist who was acquitted of causing the death of an eight-year-old Ipswich boy will not be sent to the Supreme Court.

Honey Rose pictured during the trial at Ipswich Crown Court.Honey Rose pictured during the trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Honey Maria Rose, 36 of Newham, East London was convicted in July 2016 for gross negligence manslaughter after failing to spot an eye condition which led to the death of Vincent Barker in July 2012.

Judge Jeremy Stuart-Smith said at the original case that although the lapse of duty had been singular that the breach of duty was criminal.

Ms Rose saw Vincent for a routine appointment at the Ipswich branch of Boots five months before the boy’s death in 2012. It was alleged she failed to spot that Vincent, who was a pupil at Dale Hall Primary School, had swollen optic discs, a symptom of hydrocephalus - fluid on the brain - from which he later died.

At the time the case was thought to be the first of an optomotrist for gross negligance manslaughter.

Vinnie BarkerVinnie Barker

The sentence handed down by Ipswich Crown Court was overturned at the Court of Appeal in July this year after Ms Rose appealed her two year suspended sentence.

Sir Brian Leveson, who heard the appeal case said at the time that “in assessing reasonable foreseeability of serious and obvious risk of death in cases of gross negligence manslaughter, it is not appropriate to take into account what the defendant would have known but for his or her breach of duty,”

He added that “were the answer otherwise, this would fundamentally undermine the established legal test of foreseeability in gross negligence manslaughter which requires proof of a ‘serious and obvious risk of death’ at the time of breach.”

Prosecution lawyers had sought to challenge this verdict by taking the case to the Supreme Court, citing the case as an issue of “public importance” that needed to be heard by top judges.

Prosecution barrister, Jonathan Rees QC said that the law on gross negligance manslaughter was “not satisfactorily clear”.

The hearing of this appeal by the prosecution lasted less than a minute before Sir Brian Leveson declined the cases’ escalation.

“The application for the court to certify a question of public importance for consideration by the Supreme Court is refused,” he said.

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