September 16, 2010
Looking at a CT scan of Baby E's brain is like looking at a scan of impending doom, Dr. Ken Poskitt testified yesterday at Avtar Basi's aggravated assault trial in Victoria provincial court.
"You mean death?" asked Crown prosecutor Nils Jensen.
"Yes," replied Poskitt, who is an expert in pediatric neuroradiology at B.C Children's Hospital.
The scan was taken on Nov. 27, 2008, the day after the 11-week-old infant was rushed in a coma from her Central Saanich foster home to Victoria General Hospital. The Crown is alleging the injuries were caused by Basi violently shaking Baby E.
Basi's defence lawyer John Green said his client will testify that Baby E went limp and, in a panicked reaction, he shook her three times to try to revive her.
A first scan, taken just after Baby E arrived at the hospital, shows a lot of blood inside the skull, but outside the brain, Poskitt explained to Judge Adrian Brooks. The blood is on the surface spaces of the brain and there is more blood on the right side of the brain.
"We have had a fair bit of bleeding in multiple locations inside the head. It has been caused by a great deal of trauma," said Poskitt.
"It's the distribution of recent blood that makes me think I'm dealing with a child that's been shaken."
When the second scan was taken the next day, the left side of Baby E's brain was much larger and swollen and there were hemorrhages in the brain. The baby suffered a great deal, said the doctor. Her condition was life-threatening.
"Whatever was applied to the person to cause this injury was significant and severe," Poskitt testified.
However, Poskitt was unable to tell Jensen how much force was required to cause the injury.
"What I can say ... it is beyond anything we would do in normal daily life to a child," said the doctor.
"It is a vigorous trauma and requires some significant amount of effort to produce the injury."
On the stand Tuesday, Dr. Kristi Zinkiew, a specialist in child maltreatment, testified she believed Baby E's injuries were inflicted with a significant degree of violence.
Jensen showed Zinkiew five clips taken from a video made in a Vancouver hotel room by an undercover police officer who posed as Basi's friend. In the clips, Basi is using a towel and showing the officer how he shook Baby E on the morning of Nov. 26, 2008.
"What you saw on those clips, would they produce the kind of injury you observed on Baby E when you saw her in hospital?" asked Jensen.
Zinkiew said she didn't think a baby would sustain any kind of injury from the shaking she saw on the clips.