An eye doctor who examined unresponsive 1-year old baby Aaliyah Ashlyn Chand after her babysitter alleged she fell from a couch, and later died, found her injuries resembled a shaken baby syndrome case.

Fijian-Indian Shayal Upashna Sami, 21, denies murdering baby Aaliyah on January 6, 2015 at her Worcester St flat.

The Crown says that Aaliyah died from severe head injuries, including two skull fractures, as well as bleeding on the brain and eyes. She also had extensive bruises on her face, forehead and ears, the court heard.

They allege it was a reckless killing, with the injuries inflicted by Sami "in a moment of anger or frustration".


Her defence claims the child died in a tragic unwitnessed accident after falling from a couch.

The two-week trial at the High Court in Christchurch will hear from several medical experts.

On the third day of the trial, Dr Zainah Alsagoff, an ophthalmologist at Christchurch Hospital, told how she examined an unresponsive Aaliyah in intensive care.

Before her examination, she was told that there was a suggestion of head injury and "possible child abuse".

Alsagoff found bleeding in both eyes and concluded that her injuries were non-accidental.

Under cross-examination by Jonathan Eaton QC, Alsagoff said her findings were suggestive of a shaken baby syndrome case.

But the court was not dealing with a shaken baby case, Eaton said, and he asked whether the medical opinion was flawed.

Alsagoff replied that it was known that impact can also cause such injuries, it's just less common.


Aaliyah died in intensive care at about 8.30pm the following day with her parents, Anjani and Dev, by her bedside.

The trial, before Justice Rachel Dunningham, continues.