Belfast Telegraph

Christopher O'Neill set to face court over baby's murder

By John Cassidy

A west Belfast man is to stand trial next year, accused of murdering his three-month-old baby daughter.

Christopher O'Neill, of Whiterock Road, sat in the public gallery during Friday's brief hearing at Belfast Crown Court.

The 26-year -old was formally arraigned earlier this year and pleaded not guilty to murdering Caragh Walsh on February 7, 2014.

He was initially charged with causing her grievous bodily harm, but within hours of Mr O'Neill first appearing in court, his daughter died.

The defendant was subsequently charged with manslaughter, but in July 2015, he was charged with her murder after the prosecution ordered a new post mortem report into the infant's death.

Defence barrister Barry Gibson had previously told the court that the case "turned on the evidence of medical experts as to the cause of death''.

He said yesterday that the defence was in receipt of expert medical reports from one witness in the United States and another based in Australia.

The defence barrister added that they were now engaging the services of a consultant paediatrician in Wales and a consultant radiologist in Scotland.

Prosecution lawyer Robin Steer said the Crown had retained the services of Manchester-based Professor Tony Freemont, an expert in bone and joint disease.

Mr Justice Treacy set the date fo r the three week trial in Co Armagh for January 16, 2017.

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