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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 17:53 GMT
Angela Cannings - The Real Story
Angela and Terry Cannings
Terry Cannings supported his wife throughout the case

The powerful BBC drama Cherished brings the story of cot death mother Angela Cannings to life.

In an accompanying Real Story, investigative reporter John Sweeney, who uncovered evidence that helped free Angela, revisits the Cannings family.

The programme also looks at other cases of mothers who have had their children taken away on evidence produced in

secret in family courts.

Following the release of Angela Cannings, the Attorney General ordered a review of 297 cases of criminal infant death convictions.

This saw 28 such cases referred to the Court of Appeal, with the status of a further 89 to be determined later this year.

The Children's Minister, Margaret Hodge, also called for a review of 30,000 cases heard in the family courts. Yet only one family court ruling was found to be suspect.

Using powers now available under the Freedom of Information Act, Real Story questions the local authorities who conducted the review to find out how rigorous they really were.

John Sweeney speaks to those critics who feel the review has missed miscarriages of justice. He also meets those who feel they are victims of a flawed family court system; parents who say they have been wrongly accused of deliberately harming their child and condemned to a life sentence of having their baby taken away for good.

Sweeney puts their concerns to Margaret Hodge, and asks whether there is a need for a new, independent review and an overhaul of the secretive family court system.

Angela Cannings - the Real Story: BBC ONE, Wednesday 23 February at 1930 GMT.

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