Doubts emerge over expert witness

Pressure is mounting on the government to set up a review of care
proceedings cases in which child abuse expert professor Sir Roy
Meadow, has given evidence.

Vera Baird MP has written to secretary of state for constitutional
affairs Lord Falconer asking him to appoint a senior judge and
administrative team to look into court cases in which Meadow has
provided expert testimony.

Baird said that any review would not be easy – Meadow may have been
an expert witness in hundreds of cases over the past 20 years – but
hoped he would be able to provide details on the cases he had
worked on from his own records.

Baird added that a legal expert needed to look at the individual
cases to see if Meadow’s evidence was a deciding factor in a case.

Meadow’s work has come under scrutiny after his evidence on
Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy was discredited in the recent cases
of Sally Clark and Trupti Patel.

The attorney general Harriet Harman has instructed the Crown
Prosecution Service to contact all the defence teams in cases where
Meadow has given evidence to tell them this might be unreliable and
provide grounds for appeal. The CPS has also made it clear that,
where there are links with care proceedings, this information
should be passed onto legal teams.

Pat Munro, chairperson of the Law Society’s children’s law
subcommittee, said there was “bound to be a number of cases where
children’s families are going to consider making applications for
review”, but warned that where children had already been adopted,
little may be able to be done.

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