The jury in the trial of a childminder accused of causing serious harm to a ten-month-old baby has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

Sandra Higgins, a registered childminder of Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, had denied causing serious harm to the baby girl at her home on 28 March 2012.

After a six-day trial, the jury foreman told Judge Patricia Ryan that having deliberated for almost six hours since yesterday, they could not reach a verdict on which a majority were agreed.

Judge Ryan thanked the jury for the care and attention they had given the case.

The case will return to court for mention next week when the Director of Public Prosecutions may inform the court if a re-trial is to be sought.

At the opening of the trial, the jury was told that in the weeks leading up to the alleged assault the baby's parents became concerned about the number of bumps and bruises she was incurring while with her minder and had made alternative arrangements for her care.

Two days after they gave notice to Ms Higgins that they would be changing their childcare arrangements, she took the baby to hospital suffering from seizures.

The baby had extensive injuries to her head and face.

Tests also uncovered older injuries including extensive bruising and two broken ribs.

The baby suffered a brain bleed and a detached retina and had weakness on one side of her body, which took a year and a half to resolve.

The prosecution alleged the baby's symptoms were consistent with a violent shaking.

Doctors who treated the baby girl said it was highly likely that the injuries to the child happened while she was in the care of Ms Higgins and that the injuries were non-accidental.

The child suffered from a brain injury, a brain bleed and a detached retina and had seizures for a number of days.

An expert witness for the prosecution, UK based paediatrician Dr Christopher Hobbs, said it was a "classic, textbook case of shaken baby syndrome".

He said it was not reasonable to suggest the injury could have happened before the child was handed over to her minder that day.

However, expert witnesses for the defence said the evidence was more suggestive of an impact to the head or could have been the re-activation of an older injury.

UK-based pathologist Dr Waney Squier said she did not believe shaken baby syndrome had any scientific validation.

Lawyers for the defence had urged the jury to acquit and said the prosecution had opened the case in very stark terms by saying the evidence would show the injury occurred on 28 March 2012.

Defence counsel Remy Farrell said the jury would have to consider the older injuries found on the child including broken ribs, which he said were clear evidence of a previous event.

The baby's parents and uncle told the court the baby had been well and her usual bubbly self on the morning of 28 March 2012 when she was dropped off to the childminder's house.

After her arrest Ms Higgins denied assaulting the baby and said she had treated the child like one of her own.

She said on 28 March 2012 the baby had been well until the afternoon when she appeared to have a seizure after she had placed her sitting on the floor.

She said the baby had been unwell with flu the previous week but was recovering and had been a little quieter than usual that day.

The court was told Ms Higgins had several qualifications in child care and had previously worked in a creche and as a substitute teacher in primary schools.