Stockholm Syndrome witness sought in case against pair accused of sex slavery

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Expert witnesses in Stockholm Syndrome are being sought in the case against Caroline Baker accused of a litany of sex charges.

Some of the charges against Baker, who had formally lived in Craigavon, include false imprisonment, inciting a person with a mental disability to perform a sex act and aiding and abetting rape.

Her husband Keith Baker faces a number of offences including rape and indecent assault, false imprisonment, false imprisonment to commit sex offences, sexual activity with a person suffering from a mental disability and inciting a person with a mental disability to engage in sexual activity, all alleged to have occurred on dates between 1 May 2004 and 20 December 2012.

Caroline, (53) is also accused of offences allegedly committed against the same woman including indecent assault and sexual activity with a person with a mental disability all alleged to have occurred between the same dates.

At Craigavon Crown Court this morning Mrs Baker’s barrister told Judge Patrick Lynch that they had been attempting to identify an expert witness and had been in contact with the Psychology Society in England and Wales but they had not received a positive response.

Judge Lynch pointed out that it was ‘getting tight for time’ and asked to what extent this could compromise the trial.

Mrs Baker’s barrister said the matter needed to be investigated further.

Keith Baker’s barrister said it remains his client’s desire that the matter be dealt with expeditiously.

The Public Prosecution barrister said it would be able to identify an expert in waiting with Stockholm Syndrome as a topic.

Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.

Judge Lynch asked: “What if the syndrome is identified?”

Mrs Baker’s barrister said: “It would not constitute a defence but it would be a medical consideration for the jury in consideration of her mens rea.”

Mens Rea refers to criminal intent. It is the state of mind indicating culpability. Establishing the mens rea of an offender is usually necessary to prove guilt. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense with a culpable state of mind.

Judge Lynch said: “If she has a mens rea, it is not a defence, but it has to be established if she has an mens rea.”

Keith Baker (60) is currently in custody in Maghaberry Prison

The case was adjourned to Lisburn Court to next Friday March 18.