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Foetal alcohol syndrome compensation case not proven

A child born with foetal alcohol syndrome is not legally entitled to compensation after her mother drank excessively while pregnant, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Lawyers argued her mother had poisoned her foetus but appeal judges ruled she had not committed a criminal offence.

Three appeal judges at the Court of Appeal had to rule on whether or not the girl was entitled to a payout from the government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as a victim of crime.

But Lord Justice Treacy said an "essential ingredient" for a crime to be committed "is the infliction of grievous bodily harm on a person - grievous bodily harm on a foetus will not suffice".

.This case was important, because campaigners argued that if the Court of Appeal had said it was possible for a mother to commit a crime by poisoning her foetus with excessive alcohol, it would have had the effect of criminalising pregnant women who drank excessively, knowing the dangers of alcohol to their foetus.

Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/