ONE of the independent medical witnesses in the Lucy Letby trial has defended his expertise and experience in court today (Friday, October 14).

Dr Dewi Evans is one of the main medical witnesses in the case, which sees 32-year-old Letby accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 more at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

Letby, who was employed as a neonatal unit nurse at the time, denies all charges.

The court had previously heard, in the prosecution opening, Dr Dewi Evans providing his conclusions as to what happened to the children who either died or suffered non-fatal collapses, saying that in many cases, air was "injected" into the babies. Those conclusions of an 'air embolus' are rejected by the defence.

At Manchester Crown Court on Friday, Dr Evans was called upon by the prosecution to explain a number of medical terms for the benefit of the jury, such as a cannula, CPAP and aspirates, in the context of neonatal unit babies.

Videos were also played to the courtroom showcasing medical equipment and procedures, such as intubation of babies, and baby monitors which would sound alarms if the baby's heart or breathing rates fell outside acceptable ranges.

Ben Myers KC, for Letby's defence, said he did not want to belittle Dr Dewi Evans's expertise, but questioned whether his role as a consultant pediatrician, rather than a consultant neonatologist, meant he did not have "day-to-day experience solely [in neonatology] over a period of years."

Dr Evans replied: "I don't really agree - I'll tell you why. We were where we were in the 1980s as neonatology, which was relatively new. Our generation was inspired to improve the services.

"Because there were so few consultants around, you had greater contact with babies than with 10 neonatologists.

"The other consultants deferred to my interests in neonatology development.

"My experience was huge.

"Our on-call system was one in four. I was on call every one in four weekends.

"In the 80s and 90s I was looking after neonatals in Swansea and Neath.

"My hands-on experience of developing neonatal experience is, I am more than happy to say, is as extensive as anybody's.

"I reckon I could intubate a baby today. It's like riding a bicycle.

"I am very happy with my neonatal experience, expertise and background."

The court heard Dr Evans had retired from clinical practice in 2009, and had taken up being an independent medical witness in a number of cases since - previously in child negligence, but more recently in serious cases involving babies having died suspiciously or being injured.

He had prepared reports for the National Crime Agency, and had prepared reports on behalf of defendants.

Mr Myers asked: "This case has involved you in a great deal of neonatology.

"That hasn't been the case before, has it?"

Dr Evans: "It has, actually. In clinical negligence, a lot of the cases involved babies.

"I have kept fully up to speed with neonatal practice."

Dr Evans added it would be difficult for him to be present in court if he was working five days a week in a neonatal unit in Swansea, and was able to give an "objective and clear" opinion on the evidence presented.

Asked by Mr Myers if he was being 'an expert' in being 'an expert witness', Dr Evans replied: I think that's far too flash for me. My role is to assist the court on some extremely challenging issues.

"I call myself an independent medical witness, not an expert."

The trial will resume on Monday.