A paediatrician banned from child protection work for three
years appeared in the High Court last week to fight calls that he
should be struck off the medical register.
David Southall was found guilty of serious professional
misconduct by the General Medical Council in August 2004, after
accusing the husband of Sally Clark of killing his sons after
watching a documentary in 2000.
Sally Clark was convicted of killing her babies in 1999 but was
cleared in the Court of Appeal in 2003.
But health care watchdog the Council for Healthcare Regulatory
Excellence applied to the High Court to have the GMC’s judgment
reviewed, arguing it was “unduly lenient”.
Barrister Monica Carlss-Fisk, for the CHRE, argued that the GMC
should have considered striking Southall off because he had refused
to apologise for making the accusations.
She argued that his penalty may have been acceptable if he had
said sorry but the case included an “extraordinary combination” of
false allegations and a refusal to back down.
“The public must have confidence that parents and children will
not be put at risk by irresponsible reporting of such issues,” she
Mark Shaw QC, for Southall, said he had made just one mistake
and the punishment he had received was more than enough.
Mr Justice Collins has reserved his decision in the case.