In the Media

Jenny Wiltshire acted for Chana al-Alas, who was acquitted of murder

PUBLISHED April 26, 2012

Thursday 26 April 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

Who? Jenny Wiltshire, 39, managing partner and criminal law solicitor at London firm Hickman & Rose.

Why is she in the news? Acted for a mother who, along with her partner, was last week acquitted of murdering their four-month-old son when a judge ruled that he had died from rickets arising from vitamin D deficiency. After his death in 2009 Chana al-Alas's son was found to have a fractured skull. A post mortem revealed that he had been suffering from rickets, which weakens the bones and makes them liable to fracture.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecuted the parents and their daughter was taken into protective care after her birth in October 2010. Criminal charges against them were dropped at the Old Bailey in December 2011 and on 19 April family judge Mrs Justice Theis ruled that none of the fractures arose from 'inflicted deliberate harm' by the parents.

The daughter has now been returned and the couple are calling for an inquiry. A CPS spokesperson said: 'In bringing this prosecution we considered all of the evidence and were satisfied that there was a prospect of conviction. There was no criticism of the CPS by the judge for bringing this case.'

Thoughts on the case: 'I am appalled at the systematic failures in this case and the ordeal the parents were put through. Having failed to detect that rickets caused the fractures, the doctors were too quick to diagnose abuse and call in social services and the police. The parents were banned from the hospital bedside and removed from their home, the alleged crime scene.'

Route to the case: 'Referred to me by City family firm Goodman Ray, which conducted the family proceedings.'

Why become a lawyer? 'At 15 I did work experience with a firm and loved it. That same firm later offered me a training contract.'