Expert concern 1

March 3, 2006

Sir Roy Meadow gave evidence in the murder trial of Sally Clark that the General Medical Council found to be erroneous and misleading. The Court of Appeal criticised the statistical evidence and said it seemed likely that it would have provided "a quite distinct basis upon which the appeal had to be allowed". Meadow's erroneous evidence played a substantial role in sending an innocent woman to jail, and David Southall's failure to mention this is noteworthy ("Justice for a hero of hidden horrors", February 24).

Mr Justice Collins has now provided immunity for medical expert witnesses. In future, they can give evidence when they do not know what they are talking about and make "mistakes" of any magnitude with impunity.

Irresponsible medical evidence is not rare: for example, the GMC found Southall guilty of serious professional misconduct when he presented a theory as a near certainty and wrote a report that implied that a man had killed his sons when Southall did not know the salient facts. Such testimony may in future escape professional oversight: I fail to see how this will improve the quality of medical evidence.

David Bell Nottingham

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns