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Civil claims and inquests proceed following ITH Pharma criminal sentence

Arti Shah
Last Friday, ITH Pharma was fined £1.215m plus legal costs following a Newton hearing in front of Judge Deborah Taylor at Southwark Crown Court.

ITH Pharma previously pleaded guilty to charges of failing to carry out sufficient risk assessment in its production of TPN and to two regulatory offences under the Medicines Act 1968 of supplying a medicinal product on 27 May 2014 not of the nature or quality specified in the prescription.

Read the background to the case

Arti Shah currently represents three families whose babies died after being fed the contaminated baby nutrition. Yousef Al-Kharboush, Tameria Golden and Oscar Barker, all of whom were born prematurely, died in hospital. All three were one half of twins and their brothers and sisters who were not given the feed survived.

The press reported that the three families did not believe justice had been served, not least because the Judge failed to find causation in the death of Yousef.

Read the report in the Guardian with comment from Arti.

Arti will continue with civil proceedings against the company, including using expert medical evidence to support the claims. The cases will also proceed to long-awaited inquest to investigate what happened to cause the babies' deaths.

The matter of Yousef's death was originally reported to Dr Andrew Harris, Southwark Coroner, who opened the initial inquest on 1 June 2014, calling his death 'unnatural' and directing further investigations to take place.

What is a Newton hearing?

A Newton hearing operates like a 'mini trial, with a judge, not a jury, deciding the disputed points based on testimony and submissions. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

In this case, it occurred because the defendant pleaded guilty to several offences, but the issue of causation was disputed. The prosecution believed that the factual differences between the parties would impact the sentence imposed.

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