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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 17:48 GMT
Child death probes in the spotlight
Sally Clarke was cleared of murder
A task force of doctors, coroners and the police are to work together to look at how sudden deaths of young children are investigated.

The move, to try to minimise the risk of future miscarriages of justice, follows the cases of two mothers accused of killing their babies.

It was claimed scientific evidence presented at their trials was unreliable.

Trupti Patel was cleared of three counts of murder, while Sally Clark was freed on appeal.

Mrs Patel, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, faced charges of murdering her children - Amar, Jamie and Mia. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty after a six-week trial at Reading Crown Court.

Mrs Clark, a solicitor from Cheshire, was convicted of killing her two children, but was later cleared and freed from jail.

Tragedy

The joint working group, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, has now been formed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Pathologists.

It aims to come up with recommendations on how such deaths should be investigated "so that the causes can be most fully and reliably established".

Professor James Underwood, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, said: "The sudden death of an infant is a tragedy for any family.

"These cases must be investigated in such a way as to avoid unwarranted incrimination of parents."

The first meeting of the joint working group will be held at The Royal College of Pathologists next Wednesday.


SEE ALSO:
Mother cleared of killing babies
11 Jun 03  |  Berkshire
Patel case raises questions
11 Jun 03  |  England
The science behind cot deaths
11 Jun 03  |  Health
Q&A: The medical evidence
29 Jan 03  |  Health


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