Paediatrician case review in the air

The Department for Education and Skills is unable to confirm
whether it will carry out a review into all cases involving Roy
Meadow until the General Medical Council has concluded its

Doubts have emerged over the paediatrician’s authority as an expert
witness in cot death cases after his theory on the probability of
multiple cot deaths was discredited again last week after Angela
Canning’s convictions for smothering her two sons were quashed.

Now there are fears that hundreds of families who had children
removed and placed in foster care in cases involving evidence from
Meadow could appeal.

Lawyers for Cannings told the Court of Appeal that Meadow had given
“misleading” evidence that multiple cot deaths in the same family
were “very, very rare”, leading to the conclusion that the cause of
the two boys’ deaths in 1991 and 1999 was smothering.

The case follows those of Sally Clark, whose sentence for killing
her two sons was overturned earlier this year, and Trupti Patel,
cleared of killing three babies in the summer.

Meadow’s expert evidence was a key factor in both cases, and it
later emerged that his claim that the odds of two babies dying of
cot death in the same family was 73 million to one was inaccurate
and could actually be as short as 64 to one.

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