Brain injuries suffered by Matthew Baxter could not be consistent with anything but trauma, a medical expert has told a court.
Brain injuries suffered by Matthew Baxter could not be consistent with anything but trauma, a medical expert has told a court.

'Tears or bruises' found in dead baby's brain tissue: Court

THE serious brain injuries suffered by baby Matthew Baxter could not be consistent with anything but trauma, a medical expert has told a court.

Paediatric radiologist Dr Anthony Lamont gave evidence as the retrial of the boy's father Nicholas Aaron Baxter entered its third day in the Townsville Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Baxter faces a single charge of manslaughter and is accused of shaking or striking his six-week-old son Matthew Riley Baxter and killing him when he was alone with the baby on November 3, 2011.

When asked if he thought that trauma caused the severe brain haemorrhage suffered by the child Dr Lamont said "I don't think this could be consistent with anything else."

Baxter was acquitted of his son's murder but convicted and jailed in 2017 after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

This conviction was overturned on appeal and he now faces trial by judge alone.

Dr Lamont gave evidence that the MRI tests taken the day after Matthew was rushed to hospital unresponsive showed the baby had "very abnormal" bleeding in his severely swollen brain.

"A baby's brain is quite susceptible to injury, hence the importance of looking after babies' brains," he said.

"The brain was very severely swollen. There was bleeding both on the surface of the brain and into the brain's substance itself."

Townsville father Nicholas Aaron Baxter leaves Townsville courthouse after the first day of his retrial. He was acquitted of the murder of his six-week-old son but convicted and jailed in 2017 after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. This conviction was overturned at appeal.
Townsville father Nicholas Aaron Baxter leaves Townsville courthouse after the first day of his retrial. He was acquitted of the murder of his six-week-old son but convicted and jailed in 2017 after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. This conviction was overturned at appeal.

Referring to MRI images, Dr Lamont said the results indicated bleeding to the brain stem, blood across the surface of the brain, tears or bruises to the brain tissue in three separate areas as well as haemorrhages behind the eyes and in the "substance of the brain itself".

He described the haemorrhages behind Matthew's eyes as the "most prominent bleeding" he had ever seen in his career and said the MRI indicated that when the test was taken the haemorrhages were between 24-48 hours old.

Dr Lamont will be cross examined by Baxter's defence team at a later date.

A second medical expert, Dr Eric Guazzo who was the director of neurosurgery at the Townsville Hospital at the time, also gave evidence that he believed that Matthew's injuries were traumatically inflicted.

When Dr Guazzo examined Matthew, he said the boy was in a "grave" condition and that he was already, or about to be, brain dread.

"I came to the opinion that injury was a traumatic brain injury," he said.

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Originally published as 'Severely swollen': Expert insight into baby's state



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