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Australia Canberra man accused of pushing fellow nursing home resident found not guilty of manslaughter

07:50  24 september  2021
07:50  24 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

Mario Amato denies manslaughter of 89-year-old Sheila Marie Capper in Canberra aged care home

  Mario Amato denies manslaughter of 89-year-old Sheila Marie Capper in Canberra aged care home A Canberra man accused of pushing a fellow nursing home resident, who broke her hip and later died from complications, stands trial in the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to manslaughter.Mario Amato, 61, went on trial today in the ACT Supreme Court, after he pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Sheila Marie Capper, who died in December 2018.

Mario Amato pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of 89-year-old Sheila Marie Capper. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC NEWS Mario Amato pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of 89-year-old Sheila Marie Capper. (ABC News)

A man accused of manslaughter over the death of an 89-year-old woman in a Canberra nursing home, has walked free after being found not guilty in the ACT Supreme Court.

Mario Amato, 61, was accused of pushing Sheila Marie Capper through a laundry door, causing her to hit the floor in the corridor and break her hip.

Ms Capper died in hospital three weeks later.

A key part of the evidence in the trial was CCTV footage of Ms Capper being propelled through the doorway, which prosecutor Rebecca Christensen said was clear evidence she was pushed.

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The court also heard Ms Capper had told staff Mr Amato was responsible.

"He pushed me, he pushed me," she allegedly told them when they came to her aid.

Ms Christensen told the court Ms Capper's dementia had not caused her memory loss or cognitive issues, and her comments were consistent with the footage.

"She's expressing what happened to her and she's doing so in a reliable manner," she said.

"It leads to the inescapable conclusion that the accused had pushed Ms Capper with some force."

No direct evidence of what happened

But Mr Amato's lawyer Jon White said the court should take into account Ms Capper's dementia and other health problems in assessing the reliability of her comments.

He told the court there was no direct evidence of what happened in the room.

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Mr White also raised the assessment that Ms Capper was at a high risk of falling.

But Ms Christensen pointed out she had never fallen in the several years she lived at the home.

Another important element in the case was Ms Capper's cause of death, which was blamed on an infection.

It was not until after Ms Capper died that it was discovered she was suffering pancreatic cancer.

Mr White played down Mr Amato's role in her demise.

"Clearly Ms Capper didn't die of a broken hip," he said.

"We now know the source of the infection was most likely pancreatic cancer.

"The court cannot rule out the cause of death was an infection caused by the cancer which caused other complications."

But Ms Christensen pointed out none of Ms Capper's illnesses, including her dementia, were at an end stage, telling the court there was no reason to believe she would have died when she did if she had not broken her hip.

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"Ultimately this is a case where a picture paints a thousand words, or a video in this case," she said.

"There's clearly a push that causes her to fall into the hallway, and then Your Honour has in Ms Capper's own words what happened."

Today Justice Michael Elkaim found Mr Amato not guilty of manslaughter or an alternative grievous bodily harm charge.


Video: A man charged with the manslaughter of an 89 year old woman in a Canberra nursing home faces an anxious wait for a verdict in his week long trial (ABC NEWS)

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This is interesting!