Doctor in Clark case escapes a life ban

A doctor who failed to disclose vital post-mortem evidence in the
Sally Clark murder trial has escaped a life ban from

A General Medical Council panel found Dr Alan Williams guilty of
serious professional misconduct and banned him for three years from
Home Office pathology and coroners’ cases. But he can continue
working as a consultant.

Williams made post-mortem errors on Clark’s babies, Christopher and
Harry, and withheld evidence.

The panel said Williams had failed in his duty as an expert witness
by not disclosing test results from Harry’s post-mortem.

Later disclosure led to the quashing of Clark’s conviction at her
second appeal.

“Your errors and omissions were formidable,” said the panel.
“[They] seriously undermined confidence in the role of a doctor as
an expert witness.”

But a life ban was inappropriate because Williams had not intended
to mislead, was not a danger to patients and was not generally

The panel also criticised Williams’ verdict on the boys’ deaths.
His finding that 12-week-old Christopher died of a lung infection
in 1996 was given despite being based on “slender evidence” and
ignored bruising that suggested an unnatural death.
Williams later changed his mind at Clark’s trial, saying
Christopher had been smothered.

At Harry’s post-mortem in 1998, Williams “attributed death to
shaking, although all the key evidence could not be sustained”.

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