Saturday, 12 February 2011

SBS: London Metropolitan Police accused: ''deliberately discredited pathologists''

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has been accused of trying to discredit three leading pathologists when they were called in to court to provide their professional opinion in cases where babies are said to have been shaken to death.
The Royal College of Pathologists has demanded an inquiry into claims by Drs Waney Squier, Irene Scheimberg and Marta Cohen that consultants were undermined in many non-accidental head injury (NAHI) cases. And the pathologists reckoned they all had allegations made against them that were initiated by the Met, among others.
A spokesman for the MPS confirmed that police had raised concerns about "certain practices", adding: "We are aware of a report registered by the National Policing Improvement Agency with the General Medical Council regarding two doctors. The MPS has co-operated with a request from the GMC in June 2010 to provide any relevant information."
However, according to the BBC, Detective Inspector Colin Welsh, a lead investigator with Scotland Yard's child abuse investigation command, said in a speech last year at a 'shaken baby' conference that in a meeting involving Met representatives, consultants and the Crown Prosecution Service the "impact and effect of contradictory expert evidence" was talked about.
In particular, Welsh is reported to have said that the main reason cases failed was testimony by expert witnesses for the defence. So their qualifications, employment history and research should be queried. Welsh is also reported to have said "so deal with back door" which has been taken as meaning that concerns could be passed on to judges about the credibility of the expert witnesses.
While confirming that Welsh had given the speech, the Met spokesman said the police were "completely committed to the judicial process and would never seek to improperly influence it".
However, Dr Squier commented: "[A court] should be able to hear evidence for both prosecution and for a defence and that anybody who has a valid and sincere opinion should be given the opportunity to express that opinion in court.
"And it appears to me that there has been an attempt to remove from the courts all of those people who are willing to challenge the mainstream hypothesis, even if those opinions are sincerely held and are based on a lot of day-to-day experience and are based on a thorough grounding in the current evidence available in the scientific literature."

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