A Birmingham man has failed to have his conviction for manslaughter in a so-called "shaken baby" case overturned by the Court of Appeal yesterday.
Alan Cherry, who was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court in 1995 for the death of his girlfriend's 22-month-old daughter Sarah Eburn-Day, was one of four people appealing against their convictions in similar cases.
Two people were cleared and a third had their sentence reduced to manslaughter after judges agreed that the mere presence of three classic features of "shaken baby syndrome" did not automatically lead to a conclusion of unlawfully killing or injury.
But Cherry was told his manslaughter conviction would stand. He is no longer in custody.
He had denied shaking the girl and claimed she fell.
Rejecting his appeal, the judges said they were not persuaded that the injuries were caused by a fall from a child's chair only inches high.
The court allowed an appeal by Raymond Rock, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, against his conviction of murdering his girlfriend's daughter Heidi Davis, aged 13 months, in 1998, and reduced the verdict to manslaughter.
He was alleged to have shaken the child violently, but he insisted she wriggled out of his arms and fell to the floor. He was still serving his sentence.
Lorraine Harris, aged 36, of Long Eaton, Derbyshire, who was jailed for the manslaughter of her four-month-old son Patrick McGuire in 2000, had her conviction quashed.
She said the baby became ill and stopped breathing after a vaccination. He had a blood disorder which was discovered only after his death.
She has been released from prison but was banned from seeing her other child.
Michael Faulder, aged 34, jailed for two-and-a-half years at Teeside Crown Court in 1999 for causing grievous bodily harm to a boy aged seven weeks, was also cleared.
He said he accidentally dropped the baby while trying to put him in his pushchair. The child made a full recovery.
Rock, originally sentenced to life, was given a seven-year sentence for manslaughter.
His solicitor, Campbell Malone, said afterwards that he had served six years and therefore should be released.
Mr Malone, of solicitors Stephensons, who represented Harris, Rock and Cherry, said the convictions were referred to the Court of Appeal following the Attorney General's review of 297 cases in the light of Angela Cannings' acquittal on appeal in 2003 of murdering her two baby sons.
At least another 89 cases of "shaken baby syndrome" were thought to be awaiting review.
Mr Malone said Cherry was extremely upset at the failure of his appeal and would fight on to clear his name.
"What is clear from this judgment is that there is a lot we do not know about infant deaths and there is much ongoing research aimed at improving our understanding of infant falls," he said.
"Mr Cherry is confident that in the near future he will be back before the Court of Appeal armed with the benefit of that research."
Defence lawyers had argued that medical knowledge and opinion had changed over the years to the extent that the convictions could no longer be considered safe.
The jury in each case was asked to infer from the expert evidence that the child victim had been violently mishandled by the defendant in a momentary loss of control or temper, said Michael Mansfield QC.
Yet there was no other evidence about what happened and no evidence of earlier ill-treatment.
New research since 2001 had led to a reappraisal of the "triad" of features involved in shaken baby syndrome - more accurately, non-accidental head injury (NAHI) - which were swelling of the brain, bleeding between the brain and the skull, and bleeding in the retina of the eyes.
Lord Justice Gage, sitting with Mr Justice Gross and Mr Justice McFarlane, stressed the appeals had been decided on their individual facts.
Responding to yesterday's ruling, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement: "The judgment sends a clear signal validating the approach used by the CPS in prosecuting shaken baby syndrome cases.
"The Geddes theory will no longer be used by the defence.
"The CPS will continue to prosecute appropriately in order to protect infants."