A man has been cleared of battering a baby boy he was left in charge of while the child’s mother went shopping.
Kevin Edwards was found not guilty yesterday of striking and shaking the youngster, causing irreversible damage to his sight, following six days of gruelling evidence at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
A jury of nine men and five women took just an hour and a half to clear the 33-year-old – who was originally charged with attempted murder – by a majority verdict.
Outside court, Mr Edwards said he was relieved his two-year ordeal was over, and that he could start rebuilding his life.
As a result of the court proceedings, he lost his job earlier this year and was also unable to see his own two children without supervision.
“I’m looking forward to spoiling them now this is all over,” he said.
“I’m just relieved.”
The court heard from 15 different witnesses throughout the trial, including the child’s mother, grandmother, doctors who treated him, nurses, health visitors and a police officer.
Mr Edwards was accused of attacking the child while his mother went shopping one afternoon in August 2012, leaving him alone with the three-month-old and two other young children.
The court heard how the mother – who cannot be named for legal reasons – returned home to discover the baby was “lifeless” and “floppy” when the accused handed him back to her.
Medics discovered severe bleeding of the brain and numerous bruises across the youngster’s face – all signs of “abusive head trauma”.
But they also found an older haemorrhage in the child’s head, which had been caused up to two weeks before the day of the alleged incident.
The baby had also been repeatedly sick in the weeks before he was rushed to hospital, and had been having trouble “fixing and following” people with his eyes.
Mr Edwards, of 14 Kemp Street, Aberdeen, repeatedly insisted that he had no idea what happened to the baby that afternoon, despite being the only adult in the house when he was allegedly injured.
He said he had left the baby in his cot in a room with the two other children, but returned shortly after when he realised he probably should not have left him alone with two hyper youngsters.
Mr Edwards said he would be forever thankful to the defence team who pled his case, and to his family for sticking by him.
“It was the hardest thing sitting there listening to the evidence. I’ve never been in court before,” he said.
“I can now look for a new job and get my life back on track.”