WOBURN — The nanny accused of fatally beating a 1-year-old girl was denied lower bail Friday, despite evidence showing the baby had sustained spine injuries several weeks before her death.
Lawyers for Aisling Brady McCarthy, who is accused of killing Rehma Sabir in the family’s Cambridge apartment, had asked that McCarthy’s bail be reduced from $500,000 to $5,000, asserting that the revelations of prior injuries undercut the case against her. The child was traveling with her mother during the time she sustained the older injuries, and was not in McCarthy’s care.
But Judge S. Jane Haggerty said the estimated timing of the spine fractures, while casting doubt on McCarthy’s guilt, did not fundamentally change the case against her. Citing medical specialists, prosecutors say Sabir died from massive head injuries sustained Jan. 14, 2013, when McCarthy was solely caring for the girl. Those fatal injuries could not have been inflicted earlier than the day the girl died, the medical specialists have said.
“I do not believe the government’s case has been substantially diminished,” Haggerty said. “I do not think there has been a sufficient change in evidence” to warrant McCarthy’s release from custody.
Haggerty said she “accepted the government’s argument” that the timing of the fractures did not affect the central charges.
“The focus all along has been on the head injuries,” Haggerty said.
The infant’s blood was also found at the scene, and the wall next to her changing table was badly damaged.
David Meier, a lawyer for McCarthy, a native of Ireland who was in the country illegally, described the spinal fractures as “violent injuries” that the prosecution’s own specialists had concluded were several weeks old. That evidence calls the entire case against McCarthy into question, he said, because she was originally charged with inflicting those injuries as well.
“Now we know, 13 months later, that those injuries were three to four weeks old, when the child was on the other side of the globe,” Meier said.
Prosecutors have not said how those injuries may have occurred.
As they have done at previous hearings, McCarthy’s lawyers criticized prosecutors for delays in providing access to medical evidence for independent analysis.
“It’s very difficult to prepare for a first-degree murder case given the state of discovery,” Meier said. “The defendant is entitled to this exculpatory evidence.”
Haggerty urged prosecutors to comply with the defense’s requests, saying McCarthy’s lawyers “are entitled to have what they need.”
“They have to look at things themselves,” the judge said.
Haggerty said that if the prosecution fails to provide the evidence, she would reconsider her bail decision.
Meier said the delays will force the trial, scheduled for early April, to be pushed back.
“There’s absolutely no way the case is going to trial in April,” Meier said. McCarthy’s lawyers could not say how long their experts would need to analyze the medical evidence, but said they had an “obligation to look at all of the evidence.”
Haggerty scheduled a hearing for Monday afternoon to update the status of the evidence.