Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Britain's dishonor: guilty by statistics

BBC NEWS | Health | Global experts slam cot death policy
...On Monday, the Court of Appeal cleared Angela Cannings of murdering her two sons.

The judges said the medical evidence that helped convict the 40-year-old woman was unreliable.

The medical evidence they referred to was 'Meadow's law', espoused by prosecution witness Sir Roy Meadow. He maintains that one cot death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder.

At one trial, he said the chances of two infants from one family dying from cot death was one in 73 million.

The UK government has now ordered a review of 258 cases where parents were convicted of killing their children in light of Monday's ruling.

Thousands of other parents who had a child taken away from them on the basis of similar evidence will also have their case re-examined.

However, experts in Europe and the United States believe Britain's approach to investigating sudden infant death is wrong.

Your child dies of SIDS, so now you're on the firing line. A second child dies, so now you're guilty. Talk about grading on the curve! I suspect many of those parents were absolutely innocent - even if many or most were guilty. Those people, innocent of crime and cursed by tragedy, then lost their surviving children or went to prison. Those double victimes may say this is as bad as the American system of executing people without just process. Shame on Britain for tolerating this law; one wonders what other similar procedures have been followed. They're almost as low as we are -- ok, not that low.

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