Judge Tells Jurors To Put Sympathy Aside
26 May 2016, 14:15
Jurors in the Liam Fee murder trial have been told to put emotions to one side.
The judge is addressing them, as they prepare to consider a verdict in the 'highly emotional' case.
Rachel Fee or Trelfa, and Nyomi Fee deny fatally assaulting Liam Fee, who died at a house near Glenrothes in Fife in March, 2014.
The pair say another boy, who cannot be identified, was responsible for his injuries.
Judge Lord Burns has begun directing the jury at the High Court in Livingston, where he told panel members that while the Crown case asks that inferences be drawn from the evidence presented, they should not be tempted 'to fill in any gaps'.
Lord Burns said: ''Those inferences must be reasonable and must not amount to speculation.''
He said there is a danger of feelings of prejudice or sympathy in the 'highly emotional' case, and that members of the jury 'would be made out of granite' if they had not been moved by some of the evidence.
But the judge said: ''You must act impartially and dispassionately.''
The couple are accused of repeatedly inflicting 'blunt force trauma' to Liam's head and body and of the ill treatment and neglect of two other boys.
The pair have admitted during evidence that they failed to seek medical help for Liam for a suspected broken leg in the days before his death.
Trelfa said she feared social workers would be alerted and remove her child from her care.
Her lawyer Brian McConnachie QC told the jury earlier on Thursday: ''By failing to get medical help, Rachel Fee committed an unforgivable crime and in due course she will be rightly and justly punished for that.
That does not make her a murderer.
Tragedy is an overused word in this court but the death of Liam Fee is a real, genuine tragedy.''
He told the jury: ''Do not compound that tragedy by convicting Rachel Fee of the murder of her son when there's not a shred of evidence to support that contention.
The Crown case is one of illusion, of smoke and mirrors.''